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Texas Tech hires Gillispie; Pearl’s supporters rally
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Texas Tech hires Gillispie; Pearl’s supporters rally

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Texas Tech hired Billy Gillispie as the new men’s basketball coach, two seasons after he was fired at Kentucky.

The formal announcement will be Wednesday at a news conference, school athletics spokesman Blayne Beal said Sunday. Gillispie replaces Pat Knight, who was fired this month.

In 2009, Kentucky fired Gillispie after the Wildcats went 40-27 in his two seasons and missed the NCAA tournament for the first time in 17 years.

He agreed to a five-year contract, according to the school.

“I can’t wait to get started,” Gillispie said in the statement.

In August of 2009, five months after his firing at Kentucky, Gillispie was arrested on a drunken driving charge. In November that year, he pleaded guilty to driving under the influence.

Texas Tech announced before the Big 12 tournament that Knight would not return next season and Knight publicly endorsed Gillispie for the job.

TENNESSEE: Nearly 100 Tennessee fans gathered at a rally near the Volunteers’ Thompson-Boling Arena to show their support for Bruce Pearl, who is waiting to learn his fate as men’s basketball coach.

Tennessee athletics director Mike Hamilton said that Pearl would be evaluated after the Vols’ season ended. Tennessee lost 75-45 to Michigan in its opener at the NCAA tournament Friday.

The NCAA charged Pearl with unethical conduct and other recruiting violations after he revealed he lied during an investigation into recruiting.

Fans dressed in orange and white chanted “We want Bruce” at the rally.

Butler: School officials say Blue II the bulldog will not travel to New Orleans, where the men’s basketball team faces fourth-seeded Wisconsin in Thursday’s regional semifinals. NCAA officials banned live mascots from this weekend’s games, saying there was not enough space and because of the quick turnarounds for other events in those arenas.

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