The following is a Q&A with reporters in the UK locker room after the Wildcats’ first-round SEC Tournament win over Ole Miss:
Q: What do you think about all of this speculation about your job status?
Gillispie: I don’t worry about all that at all. I worry about our next game, that’s all I’ve ever been able to do and that’s all I ever would do. So that’s not for me to answer.
Q: What do you think about the fact that you’re only in your second year and everybody thought you’d have to rebuild your roster, as you said, several times, to even this question coming up?
Gillispie: Well that’s not for me to answer. What I want to do is win every, single game. And, you know, if we haven’t won every, single game, then I consider that to be my fault. I’m not looking for excuses. I won’t make excuses, or whatever. There are some obvious things, but you can choose to look at those or you can choose not to look at those, it doesn’t make any difference. What we’re going to try to do is we’re going to try to prepare, we’re going to try to win our next game, we’re going to try to advance, and then when the season’s over we’re going to try to recruit the best that we can and try to get the program back where it needs to be.
Q: Mitch said to the ESPN reporter that he wants to meet with you and he thinks you need to make some adjustments in self awareness, he said, and adjustments. What do you think about that?
Gillispie: Then you need to talk to Mitch, I guess, I don’t know. I don’t have any response to anything. It doesn’t matter to me. You’re talking to the wrong guy.
Q: What do you think about the public aspect of your job? You’re not just a coach, I think that’s where you’re most comfortable, but what do you think of your celebrity status and how much of an adjustment has that been for you?
Gillispie: When you win all of your games you’ll be more of a celebrity. I didn’t come here to be a celebrity. I came here to win basketball games. I appreciate all the fan passion and all those kind of things. I think, like I’ve said many times before, our No. 1 thing is to coach the team and our No. 2 thing is to recruit, and those are very, very, very close. And those are the main things that we need to do to get this program back where it needs to be. Celebrity, whatever, makes me no difference.
Q: (Jerry Tipton, Lexington Herald-Leader)But your job is different from a lot of jobs . . .
Gillispie: Not really.
Q: (Tipton) Well, I think it is. Yes you have to win and recruit, but you also have to be a public person.
Gillispie: Well, that wasn’t on the job description, and you know, I like being out in the public, I’ve been very, very lucky and fortunate to make a lot of friends here in the Kentucky area. But you can be as public as you want to be and not win enough games and it makes no difference. We have to win games. We have to recruit players that give us an opportunity to win games, and that’s what our task has been and that’s what it will remain.
Q: But is this different from the other places you’ve been?
Gillispie: Not for me. I mean, it’s the best, no question about it. But a coach, a coach doesn’t focus too much on — a coach wants to recruit, he wants to coach. And so that’s what we’re gonna do and that’s what every other coach does. If you start trying to be a celebrity and those kinds of things then you’re definitely going to lose focus and it’s not going to be a very good solution to the problems, no matter where you’re at. When I was at Texas-El Paso and we went 6-24, it’s the same thing for me here. I want to win every, single game. If we don’t, I want to know why we didn’t. And if we figure out why we didn’t, then I want to figure out how we need to get it fixed. And that’s the way I’ve always approached it when I was an assistant coach or head coach. It’s always worked out well and it will continue to work out well, and that’s how we’re going to go about it.