UK Letter Firing Gillispie Cites Contract Dispute

kentucky athletics

The hand-delivered letter informing Billy
Gillispie he was being fired as Kentucky's basketball coach cites
only his refusal to sign a formal contract as a specific reason for
the "incompatibility" between the school and its former coach.
The letter, dated March 27 and signed by athletics director
Mitch Barnhart, was obtained by The Associated Press Thursday under
Kentucky's open records law. Gillispie received a copy of the
letter Friday during a meeting at the home of UK president Lee Todd
in which Barnhart and Todd told him he was being replaced.
"This letter is to confirm our conversation this afternoon,"
Barnhart wrote. "As we discussed, it is our belief that the
relationship between you and the University is simply not a good
fit in many ways. The inability to come to an agreement on critical
terms of an employment contract after two years of negotiation is
just one indication of this incompatibility.
"As such, we are terminating our relationship with you
effective immediately."
The letter then informs Gillispie that the university hopes to
achieve a "fair separation agreement" and asks his attorney to
follow up with the school's outside council to work on that. It
closes with the sentence, "We wish you much success and all the
best in your future endeavors."
Gillispie and Kentucky, which introduced John Calipari Wednesday
as his replacement, appear to be at odds on the amount of a buyout
owed the former coach.
Gillispie contends he is owed $6 million as stipulated in a
memorandum of understanding that was holding the place of a
contract until a formal agreement could be reached. But Todd said
last week that memorandum was considered only a year-to-year
contract, and its provisions - including the buyout cause - would
only become official if the full contract were signed.
A call Thursday to Gillispie's Tulsa attorney, Stuart Campbell,
was not immediately returned.