Friday, April 06, 2007

A New Era Begins

The Kentucky Wildcats have had 6 coaches since the 1930's. They don't put just anybody on that sideline. Today, they added another in that small fraternity. Billy Gillespie, who just had a ton of success at both UTEP (more on that irony in a minute) and Texas A & M. Some of us were hoping for the "other Billy," but after watching the press conference, seems like a pretty sharp guy. His record speaks for itself. Hey, as long as he can beat Louisville & IU each year, its all good!

As for irony, UTEP was once Texas Western. The movie "Glory Road" depicted the true story of their basketball team, all of whom were black, who went on to beat the Adolph Rupp-coached Wildcats, all of whom were very white, in the national championship game. That was an imporant game in the history of sports, in a Jackie Robinson kind of way. Fast forward a bunch of years later, and you've got a coach who has had the reigns at both programs. Just interesting, that's all.

As for Big Blue Nation, just an amazing amount of passion for all things Kentucky Basketball. This guy flys in last night from Texas, has a marathon interview session late into the night, and in a matter of hours there is a huge pep rally, with the band & everything, just to announce that he's the next head coach! Memorial Colisseum was full! Look at the size of the crowd in this picture! The press conference that followed was attended by many former players, and even former coach Joe B Hall was in the crowd! That kind of thing doesn't happen anywhere else in America. Very can see the pep rally here. You can also listen to or watch the press conference, too. Just unbelievable. A week after the NCAA tourney, where your team bows out early and you later see the departure of your coach and basketball should start moving to the back of your mind, and just like that - a pep rally just to introduce your new coach! (Oh, and you can already get the Billy Gillespie wallpaper for your computer). Now that's passion.

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