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Gillispie Ready To Restore Kentucky's Luster

LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) - Billy Gillispie says he's thick-skinned enough to handle second-guessing in the Big Blue Nation.

But he hasn't been second-guessed much over the last five years. It's kind of hard to nitpick the way he resurrected the basketball programs at UTEP and Texas A and M.

But Gillispie knows that things are different now. Leading the Miners and the Aggies to the NCAA tournament is one thing. At Kentucky, he knows it won't be enough, which is one of the reasons he accepted the responsibility of trying to lead the Wildcats back to the Final Four for the first time in a decade.

The 47 year old Gillispie admits his obsession with basketball isn't exactly healthy. UK Athletic Director Mitch Barnhart estimated Gillispie sends up to ten thousand text messages a month to players, coaches and recruits. He doesn't sleep much, instead poring over hours of game tape or driving to some remote locale looking for a player who can fit his demanding style.

Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved

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