March 28, 2007
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (AP) -Arkansas was waiting to hear from Texas A&M's Billy Gillispie about the Razorbacks' opening for a head basketball coach, though media reports in Texas had the Aggies coach set to stay put.
Stanley Reed, the chairman of the University of Arkansas board of trustees, said Wednesday that Gillispie is a candidate for the job and there were others in the running. The position came open Monday when athletic director Frank Broyles fired Stan Heath after five years.
"I know we've tried to make contact with him," Reed said of Gillispie. "We're kind of waiting on him to call us back."
But The Houston Chronicle, citing three unidentified officials close to the Texas A&M system, reported on its Web site Wednesday that Gillispie has reached an agreement on a new contract with A&M athletic director Bill Byrne.
"I talked to Coach Gillispie this morning and he told me that as far as he's concerned, he's the coach at Texas A&M," interim university president Eddie Davis told the Bryan-College Station Eagle. "That's the end of the story for me."
Texas A&M spokesman Alan Cannon said Byrne had no comment on Gillispie and Arkansas.
Broyles said Tuesday that he had made an offer but wouldn't say to whom. "We could have a quick announcement ... or it could fall through. I've offered the job, and we're waiting to hear."
Gillispie, 47, took the Aggies to the NCAA tournament's third round this year. He has been at Texas A&M for three seasons, going 70-26 with a team that was 7-21 the season before he arrived.
Gillispie also coached at Texas-El Paso from 2002-04, going 6-24 in 2002-03 and 24-8 the following season.
Broyles said he has not talked to any coaches, but that "the one I'm trying to get knows I want him to have the job."
Reed said he believes money would not stand in the way of attracting a new coach.
"I think that's pretty well the consensus of the leadership," he said.
Heath led Kent State to the round of eight in the NCAA tournament in 2002, then took over at Arkansas that offseason after Nolan Richardson was fired. The Razorbacks missed the tournament in Heath's first three seasons but made it in 2006 and 2007, only to lose in the first round both years, to Bucknell last year and Southern California this year.