Kentucky athletics say Gillispie suing wrong people

Published 2:29 am Tuesday, June 30, 2009

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — The University of Kentucky Athletics Association says former Kentucky basketball coach Billy Gillispie has sued the wrong people and in the wrong place.

The athletics association has asked a federal judge in Texas to either dismiss Gillispie’s lawsuit over his firing or move the case to Kentucky. In a motion filed Friday in federal court, the association’s attorneys say the school has minimum contact with the state of Texas, giving the court there no jurisdiction to hear Gillispie’s claims.

The association’s attorneys also claim the University of Kentucky, not the athletics association, hired Gillispie and paid him.

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Gillispie sued the University of Kentucky Athletics Association in federal court in Dallas on May 27, claiming fraud and breach of contract. Gillispie claims the school never intended to sign him to long-term deal. The school has denied the allegations. He is seeking at least $6 million — about $1.5 million per year for four of the five years he says were left on his agreement.

Gillispie’s attorney, Demetrios Anaipakos of Houston, said the motion didn’t address Gillispie’s central complaint, that he agreed to a $6 million contract.

‘‘It doesn’t matter if you are in Texas or Kentucky, a deal is a deal,’’ Anaipakos said.

A day after Gillispie sued the athletics association, the University of Kentucky sued Gillispie in state court in Kentucky. The university wants the court to rule that the two-page memorandum of understanding Gillispie signed after his hiring in 2007 was not the equivalent of a full contract.

Gillispie went 40-27 in two seasons with the Wildcats, including a 22-14 mark last season that tied for the second-most losses in the program’s 106-year history. A stumble down the stretch left the Wildcats out of the NCAA tournament for the first time since 1991.

His one-page termination letter concluded Gillispie was not a ‘‘good fit’’ for the school, and it specifically cited his failure to agree on a full employment contract.