Texas Tech men’s basketball coach Billy Gillispie said he experienced what felt like a ”stroke or a heart attack” before being hospitalized Friday.
Gillespie said in an interview for a story published in the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal Saturday that he called 911 early Friday morning after experiencing severe pain.
”It was the worst I’ve ever felt,” Gillispie, 52, told the newspaper. He also said that he was told his blood pressure was dangerously high and that he has been dealing with stress.
University Medical Center spokesman Eric Finley told The Associated Press that Gillispie would stay at the hospital Saturday night and is still in satisfactory condition.
Gillespie went into the hospital the same day Texas Tech announced that it was scrutinizing Gillispie’s leadership of the struggling men’s basketball program.
”We are looking into some concerns within the leadership of our men’s basketball program,” athletic department spokesman Blayne Beal said Friday, reading from a prepared statement. ”Student-athlete well-being is something that is our top priority. We take that very seriously at Texas Tech. We are devoting our full resources into looking into this matter.”
Beal confirmed that members of the team had met with Texas Tech athletic director Kirby Hocutt but declined to say when the meeting occurred or what issues were discussed. The meeting was first reported by ESPN.com.
Gillispie told the newspaper that he was unaware of the reports and declined to comment.
”There will be an appropriate time to talk about that,” Gillispie said. ”Right now I’m trying to get better.”
Gillispie is entering his second year as coach of the Red Raiders. His first Texas Tech team finished 8-23 and won only one game in the Big 12.
When Gillispie was hired by Texas Tech, he had been out of coaching for two years after being fired at Kentucky after just two seasons. He was named Southeastern Conference Coach of the Year in his first season, but his second team failed to reach the NCAA tournament.
Six months after his firing, Gillispie sought treatment at substance-abuse program in Houston. That followed his third arrest for drunken driving in 10 years.
Gillispie got the Kentucky job after leading Texas A&M to three consecutive 20-win seasons. In his previous coaching stop, he oversaw a turnaround at UTEP in which the Miners tied the NCAA record for most improved team from one season to the next.