The Morning Stake

The Morning Stake | 2020.04.01

Your daily dose of all things Texas Tech athletics.

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There will be no April Fool’s Day jokes from me, which is actually a long-standing tradition for myself. With that being said, I can’t believe it’s April.

As you well know, I’m pretty well fascinated with running and Eliud Kipchoge broke the 2:00 hour mark to run 26.2 miles. Lots of people had questions about how he accomplished it (it was really flat, he had pacers who ran along with him and some special shoes, but he still ran the danged thing), but get to meet the man himself in GQ where they meet Kipchoge in Kenay. Just training these guys are running 5:00 miles for 10 minutes a clip. Go to your treadmill, set it to 12 mph and try to do that without dying. That’s a 5 minute mile. LOL.

As I chat with him in the garden, Kipchoge radiates tranquility. His face is fuller than I expected; his skin glows brighter. And yet it must be said: He looks older than his age. His passport says he’s 35, but rumors have swirled that he’s in his early 40s. Conventional wisdom suggests he has only a handful of marathons left, and he’s aiming to run one of them at the Olympics in Tokyo, which have been postponed from this summer to 2021 in the wake of the surging coronavirus pandemic. The lineup of any marathon that far off on the horizon is difficult to predict, but Kipchoge is likely to face another aging superstar—Kenenisa Bekele, the 37-year-old Ethiopian world-record holder in the 5,000 and the 10,000 meters, the owner of the second-fastest marathon time in history (a mere two seconds behind Kipchoge’s official record), and Kipchoge’s sole rival as the greatest male distance runner of all time.

The showdown, if it materializes, would be the marathon equivalent of an Ali-Frazier prizefight, and Kipchoge is preparing for the distant battle with his typical focus. “When you see marathon people training and you see the results, you don’t know what’s inside those results,” he says. “Many things are going on behind the scenes. Don’t miss the training in the morning and the evening, because the body is counting.”

This is pretty wile. Yahoo Sports’ Nick Bromberg details the ridiculous situation between former Kansas coach Dvid Beaty and athletic director Jeff Long. Long kinda ordered for his staff to find NCAA violations to terminate Beaty and not pay him the $3 million he was owed (he was basically fired because he’s a bad football coach, not because he did anything wrong). Meanwhile, Kansas basketball sits there with a boatload of actual violations (alleged I suppose at this point) and there ain’t nobody getting fired.

Allegations that Long made crass remarks of a sexual nature about an elderly female donor and a female school staffer;

That Long was shown several examples by Beaty’s lawyer of similar potential infractions committed under Miles during games and practices last year, but that Long was not moved to investigate his current coach based on what he was shown;

Long was set on hiring Miles early on in his tenure; under questioning, Long struggled to remember the names of other candidates he interviewed to replace Beaty;

Kansas Athletics sought to begin documenting Miles’ eventual hiring, a process that involved recording the activities of top administrators before Beaty was terminated, for a ESPN+ series about KU football later named “Miles to Go.”

You know who doesn’t think that Billy Gillespie deserves another chance to coach basketball? NBC Sports’ Rob Dauster, that’s who. Breathe and read.

As Jeff Goodman, then of CBS Sports, reported at the time, Gillispie’s treatment of the players was just horrific. He had his team practicing for four hours a day — including one day where they went for eight hours — just obliterating the NCAA’s limit of 20 hours per week. It left one player on the team with stress fractures in both legs that he was forced to play through. He lied to players about scholarship offers, stringing them along until he had someone better to give the scholarship to. He did the same thing with coaches trying to get a spot on his coaching staff. According to Goodman’s reporting at the time, former Indiana guard Tom Coverdale quit his job as a Junior College coach to be an assistant on Gillispie’s staff only to get to Lubbock and be told that he was going to be an assistant strength coach that paid half as much. He would force everyone with the program — including radio and TV broadcasters — participate in layup lines at the start of practice. Anyone that missed a shot at to run the stadium stairs.

“It was mental warfare,” said a source that has worked with Gillispie in the past. “Everyone had to have a clear understanding. He was the ruler. He has a major complex with making sure everyone knows he’s in charge. For no reason, just to flex. Meeting at all times of the night, meeting on Christmas Eve, just to see if anyone says, ‘can’t coach, wife said no.’ Then he’d overcompensate with gifts for the family, for the kids.”

Like any abusive relationship, he breaks down people he has control over, builds them back up by showering them with compliments and promises that it will never happen again only to repeat the process all over.

And then there was the incident with Chris Beard.

Fed up with the way that he treated people in the program — as many as 30 people left Texas Tech, from players to secretaries, in the 18 months that Gillispie was in charge — Beard confronted Gillispie about it in a meeting with Athletic Director Kirby Hocutt. Things got heated. The two had to be physically separated. Beard was paid a hefty chunk of money to be quiet about it, and he was sent on his way, taking a job in the ABA before ending up back in Lubbock.

Those are just the stories that I feel comfortable enough to publish.

For those of you who think that Gillespie has maybe learned his lesson and maybe he’ll treat players better and maybe he’ll just be a better human after that organ transplant. Cool. Cool. Don’t ever forget that he left this program for dead and ironically it was Beard, the guy that Gillespie snubbed, that ended up being a savior (and that’s not a slight at Tubby Smith because he helped get that ship out of the rocks and on its way to its eventual destination).

Via KentuckySportsRadio Kentucky guard Johnny Juzang (6-6/215) has entered the transfer portal and Texas Tech, along with Arizona, Notre Dame, Oregon, UCLA, and Villanova, make his list of programs he’s gong to transfer to. Chris Beard is going to get himself a transfer, I’m almost convinced of that.

Thought: Joel Intambwe is probably going to be your center next year that will be able to run off opposing 5’s that are more traditional in that they are post-up players. Intambwe’s outside shot is going to cause signifiant problems for opposing players.

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