By LARRY VAUGHT
When I get a text message from Centre College men’s basketball coach Greg Mason I make sure to check it quickly because he’s always a good source of information.
However, I wasn’t expected to see what I did when I opened his text message Tuesday. He had an image showing that former Kentucky coach Billy Gillispie had been named the national junior college coach of the year by HoopDirts.com.
Gillispie led Ranger College to a 31-4 record last season and berth in the NJCAA Division I national championship game for the first time. His team beat 8th seeded Ranger knocked off #1 Northwest Florida and 4th ranked Coffeyville to reach the final game where it lost 87-77 to Vincennes University.
Gillispie qualified for the coach of the year award by being named as the HoopDirt.com/Just Play Solutions Coach of the Week for Week 12 of the season.
Ranger was 13-1 at home and 13-1 in the Northern Texas Junior College Athletic Conference in Region V. Ranger won its second regular season conference title in the past three seasons and Gillispie was named the conference coach of the year.
Gillispie was Big 12 Coach of the Year twice at Texas A&M before coming to Kentucky and then SEC co-Coach of the Year his first season with the Wildcats before the program fell apart his second season.
He returned to coaching this season after a kidney transplant.