The University of Kentucky dismissed men’s basketball coach Billy Gillispie Friday after two seasons at the helm of one of the game’s most-celebrated programs. Kentucky Athletic Director Mitch Barnhart acknowledged that Gillispie was a good basketball coach but that he was not the “right fit” for the program.
In Big Blue Nation, Gillispie was the subject of speculation, debate and gossip almost from the day he arrived. I can’t tell you the number of times people wanted to gossip about alleged off-the-court incidents that no one seemed to be able to document or give a first-hand account of. Some of the talk may have been true but shouldn’t I be more concerned with the “plank in my eye” (Matthew 7:3-5)? It’s easy to get so caught up in the discussion and personal evaluations of coaches that it becomes a detriment to our Christian witness.
I’ve never met Gillispie but I am confident that he knows a lot more about the game of basketball than I do. What stuck with me this week was something he said after the team’s loss to Notre Dame on Wednesday. When asked about all of the “judgment” of his coaching performance, a very content Gillispie responded: “There’s only one judgment that I will really ever be concerned about, and I hope I pass that judgment. That’s the only one I will ever be concerned about, and I’m really proud that’s the only judgment that will ever have a real effect on me, and I hope I pass that one with flying colors.”
I know nothing about the man’s faith (that’s between him and God) nor am I sure if that was the context of his statement the other night. What I do know is that Christians should be more concerned about the salvation of others than X’s and O’s and that it would do us all good to call a timeout every now to pray for our coaches and the ultimate judgment we will all face someday.