Billy Gillispie hired as head coach at Division I-bound Tarleton State

Former Kentucky coach Billy Gillispie is the new head coach at Division I-bound Tarleton State, the school announced Monday.

Gillispie agreed to a four-year deal, according to the Stephenville, Texas-based school.

"Wow, what a blessing," Gillispie said in the team's statement. "I've always believed I have been the luckiest man alive and today continues to illustrate that thought."

Gillispie has been coaching since the early 1980s, with stops at the high school, junior college and Division I level. He's best known for his time as the head coach at UTEP, Texas A&M, Kentucky and Texas Tech. Gillispie went to one NCAA tournament at UTEP before taking over at Texas A&M and leading the Aggies to two NCAA tournaments and one Sweet 16 appearance in three seasons.

Gillispie was then hired by Kentucky in 2007 to replace Tubby Smith. He was fired after just two seasons, going 40-27 and making the NCAA tournament once. Texas Tech hired Gillispie in 2011, but he went 8-23 in his first season and then took a medical leave of absence before his second season started. He resigned a year later.

Gillispie has spent most of the past five seasons at Ranger Junior College, his alma mater.

"Coach Gillispie has shown to truly be genuine in the way he cares about helping student-athletes achieve great success both on and off the court," school president James Hurley said. "After a national search and an extensive interview process, we are confident that Coach Gillispie's experience and commitment to Tarleton and our community make him the right person to build on the storied success of Texan basketball."

Tarleton State is transitioning into Division I and will join the WAC next season. Gillispie replaces Chris Reisman, who stepped down after two seasons and will take over as the assistant athletic director for student-athlete development and strategic initiatives.