Texas Tech Men’s Basketball – A Path Forward

KANSAS CITY, MO - MARCH 07: Jordan Tolbert #32 of the Texas Tech Red Raiders dunks during the first round of the Big 12 Basketball Tournament game against the Oklahoma State Cowboys on March 7, 2012 at the Sprint Center in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

Right now the Texas Tech men’s basketball program has hit an all time low. With only the information I’ve been able to gather from the media over the last few weeks, I am to a point that I have finally put enough of the scattered accusations and news together to give my own opinion of the situation. I’ve formed this opinion from two realistic points of view, but I understand that I’ve been wrong on predicting outcomes of certain situations before. As I came to form my opinion I did two things. I thought about the Billy Gillispie accusations and medical issues as a passionate Texas Tech basketball fan. Then I though of the same situation as a guy that was born in Louisville, raised in California and Texas, grew up playing the game all his life that always had a family around that loved basketball.

As a passionate Texas Tech basketball fan I want the situation to be resolved fairly, properly, and orderly. I want to make sure what the current players, former players, and former employees are accusing Gillispie of is proven to be true or false. Time is a factor now that basketball practice is about to start in October. It needs to be done quickly, and thoroughly. The problem is our coach has had medical issues that prevent him and our athletic director from meeting to hear Gillispie’s side of the story. Our athletic director has taken the approach to forbid Gillispie contact with the team. The AD has placed Chris Walker in charge of day-to-day operations of the basketball team. I hope Gillispie can get through his medical issues safely, and be healthy when he finishes with the medically ordered "stress-free" environment the doctor prescribed him. In my opinion as a Texas Tech fan, I want my team and program to be clean and safe. I want it to uphold a good image for Texas Tech University. I want the facts to be communicated to everyone, and I want to move forward with all the players on the team not being mistreated. Billy Gillispie has brought negative light onto an already struggling Texas Tech basketball program. Billy Gillispie is going to be released as soon as legally possible, in my opinion as a passionate Texas Tech fan.

As a guy that grew up all his life loving the game, I think some of the ball players might be a little too soft nowadays. They aren’t as tough as back in the day, but I have to remind myself it is now 2012 not 1990. I like Billy Gillispie as a coach, and think he is a really good one that knows what he is doing. All I heard from other programs that he came from was about how volatile and much of a risk he was. This didn’t make me think that the guy didn’t deserve a second chance, and I did want to see him succeed at another school. He was given a second chance and that’s great. I wanted him to watch his butt and not screw up at that new school. The problem is he did screw up, part of his team revolted against him for some reason or another. Some people are saying he’s a good man and others are putting him over the fire. They are saying he mistreated players and broke NCAA rules. Then, before he can tell his side of the story to his boss he runs from the situation. I think he is doing it because while he might have some serious medical issues, he’s trying to avoid the problem at hand. In my opinion as a guy that loves the game of basketball and having watched it all my life, I think Billy Gillispie will be fired.

My opinion as thinking about it two different ways comes to the same conclusion. I think Billy Gillispie has coached his last game as the head basketball coach at Texas Tech. I’d be more shocked if he was still the head basketball coach after our AD meets with him then I was when Timothy Bradley was picked a winner over Manny Pacquiao back in June.

This leads me to examine the path forward for our basketball program. I think we are in great hands if Chris Walker leads our team this upcoming season. He was a damn good point guard at Villanova. He was on a Villanova team that made postseason tournaments all four years he was a player there. He went on to be an assistant coach at Loyola Marymount, Vanderbilt, Pepperdine, Villanova, Massachusetts, and New Mexico. He has never had the chance to prove himself as a head coach. I believe when Gillispie is terminated Chris Walker will be promoted to interim head coach. Everybody can talk about who might be in the running to be the next coach of Tech basketball when Gillispie is gone, but this is Walker’s time to shine. My hope is he comes out and wins games. We have a talented team, young and inexperienced but talented. The players on this team can make something happen if we find that spark. I have heard Walker is a great recruiter, and he is from the Houston area. These are just some more pluses, and I think Walker will get the job done.

Really all I’m thinking here is how nice would it be to get a path forward and get started on a positive note. We can get the fans back into the seats by winning games and have fun doing it. If Walker can do these things over the course of the season we will keep him as the permanent head coach. It’s so much cleaner and easier that way. I think it’s going to be his job to lose, and I hope for a somewhat miracle to happen this season. After the season is over nobody should look back at the Gillispie mess, we should keep moving forward. I want something special to happen, and I believe it can be done with Walker. Steve Lappas was the head coach while Walker was one of his assistants and had this to say about him while on Tech Talk, Walker is "very stable emotionally and always kept things grounded." This is really what we need right now in our basketball program, even if the wins don’t come and we go through another rough season. We need some stability within the program.

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