Embattled Texas Tech head basketball coach Billy Gillispie returned to
Lubbock Friday evening following a short stint at the Mayo Clinic where he was
reportedly being treated for high blood pressure and stress. Gillispie was flown
to and from the Rochester, Minn. facility on a private plane.
Lubbock's KAMC-TV first reported Gillispie's arrival back on the South Plains
Multiple sources told RedRaiderSports.com that university officials were
"shocked" to see Gillispie return after less than three full days at the Mayo
Clinic. Tech athletic director Kirby Hocutt received a text message from
Gillispie at 2:35 p.m. Friday afternoon that stated he was still undergoing
tests and waiting to meet with more doctors. University officials were not given
any indication of Gillispie's plans to leave the Mayo Clinic and were surprised
by news reports that he had returned to Lubbock.
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Gillispie has been under intense scrutiny over the last two weeks following
allegations of NCAA rules violations and player mistreatment. The 52-year-old
coach was scheduled to meet with Hocutt on Aug. 31 regarding the allegations,
but checked into a Lubbock hospital that morning and has reportedly been
battling stress and high blood pressure ever since. Tech officials confirmed on
Monday that Gillispie was taking sick days that he had accrued since being hired
by the university last March.
Tech released a statement late Tuesday evening that noted its desire to seek a
"swift resolution" to this ongoing issue.
"We hope Billy Gillispie has a full recovery, but we cannot wait forever as we
have a basketball team that starts practice soon," the statement read. "In the
meantime, Associate Head Coach Chris Walker will assume the responsibility for
day-to-day operations of our men's basketball program. Coach Walker will ensure
that leadership and accountability will be in place for our student athletes and
staff. We have been seeking a swift resolution to this issue from the very
beginning. We remain committed to communicating with Billy face-to-face
regarding the issues related to the men's basketball program; however, time is
of the essence."
Gillispie went 8-23 (1-17) during his first season with the Red Raiders.