Tuesday, March 17, 2009

What Keegan says


Trades don’t take place in college basketball, but that doesn’t mean they can’t behind the scenes. If I’m the boss at the University of Kentucky, I contact T. Boone Pickens and offer him a deal as soon as Oklahoma State gets bounced from the tournament: I’ll trade you my basketball coach for your basketball coach.

Billy Clyde Gillispie, former assistant to Bill Self, did such a good job at Texas A&M;, Kentucky stole him from the Big 12 after the 2006-2007 season. Kentucky basketball fans, the least patient on the planet, already are sick of Gillispie. He has as many losses (26) in two years at Kentucky as he did in three seasons in College Station.

Meanwhile, former Kentucky star guard Travis Ford has the Cowboys in the NCAA Tournament in his first season in Stillwater.

When T. Boone says no to the initial offer, toss in a thoroughbred horse with Triple Crown bloodlines and a pledge to advocate the use of natural gas as an alternative energy source and call it a deal. Ford returns home. Gillispie returns to the conference he best fits, and Oklahoma State, which couldn’t get Self, gets his friend and former assistant.


Carter Patterson 11 years, 10 months ago

Tom, did UK and Gillispie ever get their contract finalized? I had heard that he never signed one because of a stronger than usual "morals" clause. I heard that after each game, the athletic department would bring him a check based on their verbal agreement. I don't know how much of that is fact vs. fiction.

tomike 11 years, 10 months ago

1) Thought yourself as an real expert? 2) Not smart enough to find a proper title?

jaybate 11 years, 10 months ago

Dear Tom,

First corporate wants more clicks and leans on you. You write "Kansas Has No Chance."

Now, corporate sends in a consultant to rev things up. You write this coach-swap piece about Gillispie (from UK to OSU) and Ford (from OSU to UK). Gillispie was one of Self's pals, The story is headlined: "What Keegan says." The word "says" is annoyingly not capitalized. Could be a gaff by your staff. But it could also be something the consultant advised, something to jar the readers a little bit--a graphic equivalent to pursuing more edge.

Being a sports editor was supposed to be easier than this, right?

The consultant tells you to get edgy. You know that edge is way out of date, very last century, but the depression has changed everything but the way consultants think...and talk.

Regardless, you're an Irish-descended easterner with that characteristic combination of a gift of witty gab that translates to writing talent and masks intermittent melancholia that translates to slightly bigger portions on average than others on the staff. So getting edgy is not your natural style.

You're more of a throw back, more of a stuffed leather booth in a dark chop house over a Bushmills kind of guy, despite some early cultural modification by the '60s and '70s. You prefer sardonic wit and a good laugh to edge. Finally, someone taught you to write and you would never not capitalize "Say" in a headline, so you, as the rest of us today, labor under the plague of younger generations intentionally de-educated and propagandized by our oligarchy. The oligarchs didn't like the '60s much at all. They decided to make sure they didn't happen again. They decided to minimize any more political uprisings and to breed docile consumers willing to accept the periodic theft of their industrial base, public treasury, and retirement funds by pirate capitalism, er, globalization, and by setting up a system to steal it into oblivion, er, deregulation, while younger generations sunk into semi illiteracy and The Comedy Show as their primary source of hard news. But I digress.

So: you get edgy by doing a little access enhancing favor to Coach Self. You prepare a soft landing for his pal, Billy Gillispie. Self took Gillispie in once, because Gillispie had fallen on hard times and because Billy could probably recruit President Obama to play basketball for the Senate Republican team. He travelled with Self from Tulsa to Illinois and then got his comeback break at Texas A&M based on a good recommendation by Bill Self.

jaybate 11 years, 10 months ago

Billy was one of Don Haskins' boys. You remember Don. Don beat Jo Jo and KU, and then UK, back in '64, to win a ring with the first all-African American starting five ever. They made a flick about it recently. Don is part of Iba's "Greatest Generation of Assistants Ever," so named by me. He's one of the three hard scrabble wise men, the three red clay apostles of Okie Ball: Don Haskins (Texas Western), Jack Hartman (SIU, KSU), and Eddie Sutton (Central Idaho juco, Creighton, Arkansas, UK, OSU, USF). As nearly as I can figure, they won more games than any other three assistants of any other legendary coach in the history of college basketball. Look it up. But I digress.

You write a piece with edge acknowledging Billy is down at UK. You wrap it in a little edge.

You note that Travis Ford, a UK alum, is doing better at OSU than Billy has done in bourbon country. You say T. Boone ought to use some of that largesse to install Billy at OSU, when the impatient UK folks show Self's pal the door and bring Ford back to Lexington.

Its a good idea. Getting an Okie Baller back into OSU would be as appropriate as getting a KU baller back in at KU. But sometimes legacies benefit from cross breeding with other great strains of the game. KU has benefitted massively from an infusion of Okie ball Bill Self style. UK tried once to get the bennie with Eddie and they are trying again with Gillispie. I'm guessing Gillispie will succeed and make UK the better for the hybridizing. And what's good for the goose is good for the gander. Travis Ford, bringing his UK and Pitino pollen is probably doing wonders for OSU's Okie Ball seed stock. This is America. America is nothing if not hybrid. We have a President whose father was an African-African and mother was a Caucasian-Kansan. Power to the hybrids. You are no doubt some kind of a hybrid yourself, Tom. I am half English and half Bohemian (hence my alternating bouts between properness and the Kafka-esque. Power to the hybrids, I say.

Regardless, you score a point with Self. Access is good.

And you satisfy the consultant. Surviving consultants is good.

And you send the staff who didn't capitalize correctly to confession, if it weren't an attempt to appease the consultant.

And you stop into a chop house on the next eastern road trip.

And you're still here and corporate has forgotten the consultant.

The Catholic monasteries in Western Ireland survived Rome, didn't they? Surely the KU sports desk can survive a depression and a consultant.

What's a lousy consultant?

What's a lousy depression?

Bartender, another Bushmills.

JayCeph 11 years, 10 months ago

There are some nice chophouses in KC...

Max Ledom 11 years, 10 months ago

Jaybate come on dude. Too long of comments. Just take Keegans place if you want to write articles not comments.

JayViking 11 years, 10 months ago

Don't know what you're talking about.

Jaybate's comments are as entertaining as anything else here.

farnamjayhawk 11 years, 10 months ago

Jaybate, how many resumes have you sent out? Will no one hire you to write for their paper? I can't really comment on your posts since I very rarely read them but come on dude, get a life.

milehighhawk 11 years, 10 months ago

Methinks Jaybate gave Keegs a good run for his money on MOST BORING READ ON THE PAGE.

imzcount 11 years, 10 months ago

If I had to say, I would classify Jaybate's comment as an attitude of superiority manifested in an overbearing manner with presumptuous claims or assumptions.

jaybate 11 years, 10 months ago


Not quite. You topped me. :-)

jaybate 11 years, 10 months ago

I'm endlessly fascinated by people reading my stuff, especially the long stuff, and getting irked enough to comment. I don't read past the first sentence, unless it is addressed to me, if it does not hook me. And I certainly don't let it get under my skin.

I never read any of the following guys' posts unless jaybate is in the text. In fact, I've never even heard of any of the posters below, except for Hawksboy88 and stupidmichael.


If you would be so kind as to not only not read my posts, but not mention my name in yours, then you would cease to exist to me entirely. TIA :-)


If you stop and think real hard about this, my name is jaybate, not Jeff Beals.


Yours is a fair assessment from your POV and I would be very grateful were you to stop reading my posts...and mentioning me by name. It is not that I don't like you, it is more that I do not wish to be associated with you in any way. :-)


What makes you think I would want Keegs job, after saying he's being hassled by corporate? Its a tough job, especially these days, when the shrinking print ad revenues keep exposing how little they make on clicks.


If I had to classify your comment, I couldn't.


at last, an honest man.

Rock Chalk!

Tony Bandle 11 years, 10 months ago

Jaybate, you and I can always discuss the introduction of the curtain wall system into American architecture as the stimulus for the skyscrapers of the Post Modern era.

Frankly, I enjoy everyone's comments, from the moronic to the majestic, on this site. The varied reponses weave a tapestry of a veritable Babel of fact, funk, fiction, fanaticism, fairy tale and folk lore.

Plus always providing the opportunity for some gratuitous alliteration!!!

PS Come on all you scardy cats, this is KANSAS vs north dakota state.....Hawks by 20......ROCK CHALK!!!!!!!!

Joseph Kuebel 11 years, 10 months ago


This was a good one. Futhermore, I completely agree with you that I have HEARD none of the other users that "bashed" you for talking crap on Keegan on this article.

I wouldn't put it past Keegan himself to have created multiple Alias' in order to make himself look better.

This was masterful.

Joseph Kuebel 11 years, 10 months ago

I've been thinking: This guy writes for college basketball? Unreal. I enjoy your mention of Keegan's sorry attempts at wit, as you have just mentioned I completely agree with. And Last his BoguS attempt at being a smooth, savvy, college oriented talk of wordplay(wit-rather lack there of).

Joseph Kuebel 11 years, 10 months ago

This guy should be writing for a retirement crowd- 60's or older folks.

Joseph Kuebel 11 years, 10 months ago

"What Keegan says". First off the title is whack. Next, this guy (Keegan) is promoting himself. This in business as I learned at glorious old KU is called a "hard sell". A "hard sell implies an aggressive approach toward a potential buyer; whereas as a soft sell is a more subtle, suggestive approach." It's called high-pressure salesmanship a sad attempt to push an inadequate product to dupe the potential buyer. In this case, the hard sell Keegan has just attempted is an inadequate article for the potential reader who is not buying.

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