Report: Texas Tech names interim coach

Associated Press  |  Last updated October 04, 2012
Associate coach Chris Walker will be the interim head coach at Texas Tech, replacing Billy Gillispie, a person familiar with the decision told The Associated Press on Thursday. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because a formal announcement had not been made. Gillispie resigned Sept. 20, citing health concerns and with the university investigating allegations that he mistreated some of his players. He led the Red Raiders to an 8-23 record in his only season in Lubbock. Walker took over day-to-day operations of the program Sept. 7 after athletic director Kirby Hocutt told Gillispie he needed to focus on his health. Walker came to the program last year after two seasons at his alma mater Villanova, where he was an assistant under Jay Wright. He has 17 years of collegiate coaching experience, including four teams that went to the NCAA tournament - Villanova twice, Vanderbilt and Pepperdine. Before coaching at Villanova, Walker was an assistant for Steve Alford for two years at New Mexico. Gillispie's team got just one Big 12 win last year in Texas Tech's worst season since 1990-91. In January, the school reprimanded Gillispie and assistant coach Brooks Jennings after a review found the team had exceeded practice-time limits in 2011. The school reported the secondary violation to the NCAA and penalized itself by reducing the team's practice time by about 12 hours. Gillispie was hospitalized Aug. 31 for six days after calling 911 just hours before he was to meet with Hocutt to discuss allegations of player mistreatment. Several players had gone to talk to Hocutt two days earlier. Gillispie was released from Lubbock's University Medical Center Sept. 6 after treatment for high blood pressure. The next day Hocutt told him he was no longer in charge of day-to-day operations of the program and was not to engage with it in any way until the two could meet to talk. Hocutt said he wanted Gillispie to focus on his health. On Sept. 10 a second 911 call came from Gillispie's home, though he did not go to a hospital. The next day he flew to the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota for tests for high blood pressure. When he returned four days later after being treated for kidney problems and abnormal headaches, he said doctors told him to avoid stress for 30 days while working to lower his blood pressure. When Gillispie was hired by Texas Tech in March 2011, he had been out of coaching for two years after being fired at Kentucky after just two seasons. The school and fans had hoped the 52-year-old could orchestrate the turnaround for the Red Raiders that he had pulled off at UTEP and Texas A&M. Texas Tech has failed to reach any notable heights since Bob Knight took the Red Raider to the NCAA regional semi-finals in 2005. Knight, who came to Texas Tech in March 2001 after leading Indiana to three national championships, resigned midseason in February 2008 and was succeeded by his son, Pat. The younger Knight, who Texas Tech tapped as head coach designate a couple of years before his father resigned, was let go after 3 1/2 years. He now coaches at Lamar in Beaumont.
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