Aggies name Gillispie new basketball coach
College Station, TX (Sports Network) – Billy Gillispie was named the 19th
men’s head basketball coach at Texas A&M on Wednesday.
“I am excited that Billy Gillispie has agreed to become Texas A&M’s men’s
basketball coach,” said director of athletics Bill Byrne. “He has all the
qualities we were looking for in a coach to lead our program to prominence in
the Big 12.”
Gillispie is coming off a season in which he led UTEP to one of the best
turnarounds in college basketball history. UTEP went from losing 24 games
during the 2002-03 season to winning 24 in the just completed campaign,
Gillispie’s second at the helm.
“I am looking forward with great anticipation to building a strong and
competitive program at Texas A&M,” said Gillispie. “With all the positives at
A&M, I’m convinced we have the foundation to build a championship basketball
Gillispie replaces Melvin Watkins, who resigned this month after the Aggies
went 7-21, including 0-16 in the Big 12. A&M then lost in the first round of
the conference tournament, giving Watkins a 60-111 record in six seasons.
UTEP struggled to a 6-24 mark in the 2002-03 season, Gillispie’s first year
at the school. The turnaround then produced a 24-8 record this season.
The Miners finished tied atop the Western Athletic Conference with a 13-5
regular season record. They then earned an at-large bid to the NCAA
Tournament. UTEP, which received a 13 seed, came up just short in a first-
round game against fourth-seeded Maryland, losing 86-83.
“It was a very difficult decision for me to leave UTEP,” Gillispie said. “I
deeply appreciate the support of the UTEP administration and the fans in El
Paso, as well as the hard work and dedication of the players. The program is
on a firm foundation and will continue to be successful because of them.”