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2007-9-26 Interview with William B. Keightley, September 26, 2007 AF008:2005 OH 113 A/F 750 00:49:09 William B. Keightley Oral History Project Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries University of Kentucky -- Basketball. Basketball -- Coaching. Donovan, Billy. Smith, Tubby. Gillispie, Billy. Keightley, William B.; Interviewee Suchanek, Jeffrey; Interviewer keightley_af_0750 1:|10(29)|13(27)|26(5)|46(5)|61(22)|76(9)|87(18)|91(3)|107(2)|125(13)|147(12)|159(20)|166(5)|185(15)|194(23)|205(4)|222(13)|235(16)|246(5)|255(9)|261(37)|278(30)|303(28)|319(7)|333(2)|339(7)|354(3)|361(16)|378(8)|389(20)|404(16)|412(21)|422(21)|435(34)|445(28)|454(3)|465(7)|475(22)|479(16)|490(23)|516(8)|534(27)|550(9)|568(7)|578(6)|584(17)|602(15)|619(29) audiotrans BKeight interview SUCHANEK: Yeah, let's go. This is uh, Jeff Suchanek and it is September 26th 2007 and I'm sitting here uh, with Mr. William B. KEIGHTLEY in his office in Memorial Coliseum and we're talking about the UK Athletics program and in particular the basketball program and uh, Mr. KEIGHTLEY, the last time we talked was on April 3rd and Tubby Smith had just resigned and I was wondering if you could go ahead and, and tell us about what you know about the search process for a new coach. KEIGHTLEY: The, now wait a minute, the, the search process, what'd you, what did you say? SUCHANEK: The search process for a new coach, how did they go about, and how where you involved in, in looking for a new coach? KEIGHTLEY: Well, quite, you know, quite frankly, I, I was not involved at all, you know, athletic director's always have a plan, plan A and plan B and really, you know the search, uh, really was not that extensive. I mean, you know of course the people right when Tubby left immediately thought of Billy Donovan but knowing Billy, as well as I know him, I, I, it was not a viable situation, it, it's difficult to transfer within your league because it, it brings up too, too much animosity and I don't think Billy would you know, ever, ever even seriously considered it at all and then of course plan B was Billy Clyde and Billy Clyde he was, he was agreeable to take what he had been offered and so, that's just about, the search actually never really got going. SUCHANEK: So they didn't, it wasn't like the search for when Rick Pitino was hired? KEIGHTLEY: No, no. SUCHANEK: When they brought in P.J. Carlesimo and. KEIGHTLEY: No, they had, we had several different candidates that came in this time no one came in until Billy came to meet the press and the announcement that he would be our new coach. Of course he had been here earlier in the year with Texas A & M and they practiced here in the coliseum but anyhow you know, it really, really wasn't an extensive search at all, it was plan A, you know the people really thought about, you know Billy because he'd been here before but, SUCHANEK: As I recall you thought there was a 70% chance that Billy would come? KEIGHTLEY: Yeah, I, yes, and, SUCHANEK: That was your heart speaking, right? KEIGHTLEY: Yes, yeah if you, if you do that, that's your heart speaking, that's where you're trying to placitate the multitudes, that's what that's called. SUCHANEK: (Laughing) KEIGHTLEY: But, you know deep down inside I knew that, that Billy would the situation being within the league and transferring and, I kept up with it just a little bit because I was in spring training. SUCHANEK: Right. KEIGHTLEY: At, at that time and I was in spring training with a young man that had worked with me when Rick was here and now is, is Rick's chief administrative assistant. SUCHANEK: Who is that? KEIGHTLEY: That's Vinny Tatum, he's right up there, there is his right there, there he is over there and Vinny you know, did all of the, administrative things for Rick so, he was on the phone with him like we were in Florida for spring training, he's on the phone with him probably 2 or 3 hours a day so I kind of kept up with the procedure right there, and I knew. SUCHANEK: What were they saying, what were they saying about the search? KEIGHTLEY: Well, they had, I mean they really, you know, was about the only thing Rick would say was that Billy, you know, Billy wouldn't, wouldn't do it. Billy would be the next coach of the Orlando Magic. SUCHANEK: Which he was for about. KEIGHTLEY: Which about, about 24 hours. SUCHANEK: Exactly. KEIGHTLEY: But Rick said that right out of the shoot, so you know there was a little, there was a little smoke there somewhere. SUCHANEK: A little, little discussion going on already. KEIGHTLEY: Oh yeah, yeah, so you know. SUCHANEK: What was, what was that about just briefly, that brief fling that Billy had with the NBA team in Orlando, I mean, you know Billy, what went on, what was that all about? KEIGHTLEY: You know. SUCHANEK: It's kind of embarrassing for him. KEIGHTLEY: Yes, I know Billy, and I, I you know what, he was facing a, a decision, it was gonna affect his life and, and I guess he made the decision a little bit in haste and then as soon as he made it, he, he, he got to thinking about his family and how it would up root them and money, you know was not the issue and these guys make enough money that they don't have to, have to worry about that top dollar and I think when Billy got home and started thinking about what he'd have to do with his kids and he was involved in quite a few civic adventures there in Gainesville and uh his, his dad had moved there so you know it was something that he, he wasn't ready to tear his family up and move away because early on it was said you know that, that Christy was going to stay in Gainesville and Billy would get a little condo in Orlando, well that, that's don't work with a family. SUCHANEK: Not for that family anyway. KEIGHTLEY: No, not for that family. SUCHANEK: Some maybe just can... KEIGHTLEY: That's the thing about athletics, that people do not understand is you got to be prepared to give your entire life to athletics, I mean it supersedes anything, you can't make any plans for your family, if your in athletics it, it just, it just does not allow, everyday is different, it, it, the approach has to change and you never know what's going to happen to cause it to change so, you know I couldn't make now plans to go to spring training next year because if I did, 99% of the time it would never work and that's the reason some people leave athletics when, we got, had a young man here that really one of the greatest trainers I've ever been around, Dave Kennedy, and Dave's got two small kids and he is as great a parent as I've ever seen and he was constantly struggling with trying to do something with his kids and about the time he'd make plans to go somewhere, something would come up, I'm talking about even a vacation that, that really wouldn't allow it. SUCHANEK: Yeah, they miss a lot of school plays, and a lot of soccer games, and. KEIGHTLEY: Yes, they, they miss it, so what, what happens is the, the mother of the kids normally wind up almost rearing the family. SUCHANEK: Right, exactly. KEIGHTLEY: And not everybody is willing to make that sacrifice. SUCHANEK: Kind of like the Mike Hargrove situation with the Mariners this year. KEIGHTLEY: Yes, right. SUCHANEK: Quitting mid season, and said you know he just didn't have you know the fire in the belly anymore for the, not for the game but for everything that went on with it. KEIGHTLEY: Yes, yes, yes you got. SUCHANEK: And I suspect he was, getting pressure from his wife too. KEIGHTLEY: Yes that's right, hey I'm sure that Christy had on in Billy's case had, had a lot of input into that thing. SUCHANEK: Right. KEIGHTLEY: And she's such a wonderful person and of course Billy is, incomparable as a human being so he made a hasty decision and then realized probably before he got half way back to Gainesville that wasn't for him. SUCHANEK: Uh-huh. Plus you have to do a lot more traveling in the NBA. KEIGHTLEY: Oh well, it's yes, yes, you got to travel and, and well I don't know how you coach in the NBA, I've always said I don't even know if you coach, you try to get them all on a plane and get them there and after you get them there they not prepared to listen to anything you say. SUCHANEK: Well, I mean, you know you could probably name the coaches who actually can coach in the NBA on one hand, you know Pat Riley comes to mind, he seems to be able to get the players to do what he wants. KEIGHTLEY: No, no if, if there was some way that you could get an entire team of, like a young man we had here played for us whose in town right now as we speak, I had a nice visit with him yesterday, Tayshaun Prince, see you can coach Tayshaun Prince. SUCHANEK: Right. KEIGHTLEY: He's going to do what you ask him to do. SUCHANEK: Derek Anderson. KEIGHTLEY: Yeah, they, they going to do what you ask them to do but you know they're almost a total exception. SUCHANEK: Derek Anderson would be one too, right. KEIGHTLEY: Yes, yes another one yes. SUCHANEK: Desmond Allison. KEIGHTLEY: Yeah, yeah, that's true so uh. But it's just, it's just a tough life and not many people are prepared to deal with it. SUCHANEK: Do you think that was an embarrassing moment for Billy Donovan? KEIGHTLEY: Yes sir, I, I, he I'm sure it was he was trying to, I'm sure labored over how he could basically gracefully bow out. SUCHANEK: Have you talked to him since? KEIGHTLEY: No, you know what, I haven't, I have not but I, I know that he had to labor with that, try to you know, you don't want to, you don't want to reject that organization and I think he made the statements that he left everybody reasonably happy, you know early on I believe there was a law suit threatened and but a, they moved off of that, moved off of that center. SUCHANEK: How much of a influence would Rick Pitino have on Billy as far as that kind of a decision goes, I mean he's been in the NBA? KEIGHTLEY: He would have, he would have a tremendous, he would have a tremendous affect because they would all, you know like we talked a little bit earlier about, about the service where you get to a point where you depend on your mentor and, and they, the people that coach for him never get away from him and he, he would have a tremendous input into what anybody wanted to do, they'll, they'll all check with him before they make a move. SUCHANEK: Now how would he go about it, would he say "yeah I think you ought to do it" or would he say "okay here is the advantages and here is the disadvantages?" KEIGHTLEY: Yes, well, I'm sure when the case with, with Billy. Billy probably had already, always had maybe had a dream of coaching in the, in the NBA and you know, all of a sudden he's, he's faced with a choice and just like anyone else with a dream you, you might leap which I think he did and then I am sure that Rick could tell him first hand that coaching in the NBA is not easy today. It, at one time it probably would, people, people were as we've talked about society, society is not as disciplined as it was 30 years ago. SUCHANEK: Right. Back when... KEIGHTLEY: Much less 50 years ago. SUCHANEK: When Bill Russell played. KEIGHTLEY: That's right, yes. SUCHANEK: And Wilt Chamberlain, those were, KEIGHTLEY: When they played they were disciplined and there wasn't that many teams and there wasn't that many positions and you know, guys like Frank Ramsey, but you know what, those guys didn't make any money either. SUCHANEK: Exactly (laughing). When you're making a lot more money. KEIGHTLEY: They just barely made a little bit more than, than a brick layer (laughing) only you just didn't have to work as hard. SUCHANEK: Now when you're making twice what the coach is making or more. KEIGHTLEY: Well, you've got you know, for instance in Tayshaun's case, you know he signed a 5 year contract, $9 million a year, I mean that's guaranteed and he, he won't waste a penny either, I'll assure you that. He's such a humble person and, but, as I say, he's, he is an exception and Derek Anderson is an exception. But... SUCHANEK: Well when Billy Clyde was, Gillispie was named coach what was your reaction? You're immediate reaction? Did you know anything about him? KEIGHTLEY: I, do you know I'd only met the man one time that's when he was here to work his team out and of course I followed him and you know, followed him at the other, the other two locations he had, he had coached and had success so I knew that the man was possessed with basketball because you can't, you can't turn them around that quickly and not be possessed. And that's, like I know in our situation here we will over achieve this year, that, that's just a, that's a guarantee we will over achieve because he is totally obsessed with basketball and basketball's the only thing he cares about and he, he doesn't let himself be distracted with other functions, you know like, SUCHANEK: Restaurants? KEIGHTLEY: Foundations and, and, SUCHANEK: Opening restaurants (laughing). KEIGHTLEY: Opening restaurants and you know, capitalizing on his name, don't bother him at all, he's, SUCHANEK: He's not going to be on the roof of Paul Miller Ford, right? KEIGHTLEY: No, I, I don't well (laughing) I don't know yet. SUCHANEK: You don't know about that. (Laughing) KEIGHTLEY: Yeah, I can't say. That might happen and, SUCHANEK: But he'll be text messaging while he's doing it. KEIGHTLEY: That's right, that's right he'll never be away from, he's never totally away from the game. SUCHANEK: Well how, how are things changed since Billy Gillispie has come in the basketball program, has there been any change at all in atmosphere or just in general? KEIGHTLEY: Well yes, ever, of course every coach as I've stated earlier has been successful here and all of them have been different most assuredly in this case Billy and Tubby are quiet different you know, Tubby was more of a indecisive person where Billy is going to make a decision and the, the intensity level has picked up considerably, we, we of course we're just conditioning but I, I mean I can compare conditioning and it, the intensity level has risen quite a few degrees lets put it that a way, quite a few. SUCHANEK: Now is the conditioning back to, or equal to the way Pitino used to get his teams ready or not quiet that rigorous? KEIGHTLEY: Oh yeah, I would say, I would say, I would say that we maybe condition a little harder. SUCHANEK: Really? KEIGHTLEY: Yeah, yes. SUCHANEK: So remember the players back then, they said they couldn't wait for the games because practices were, were brutal. KEIGHTLEY: Yeah, well we probably going to have the same thing but, but the intensity level has really, really increased and, and the kids know what he, he's getting through to them, his style and they got to buy into his style and he. SUCHANEK: What is his style? KEIGHTLEY: Well, his style is you know, you don't ever, you don't ever walk when you can run and you don't ever just run, you sprint anything short of that is unacceptable and so the kids, they, they buy into this thing, they again back to military training, you know that same thing was true at Parris Island and, and our training right here. SUCHANEK: Boot camp. KEIGHTLEY: That's training. Boot camp. SUCHANEK: That's what the, that what the memo says, boot camp. KEIGHTLEY: That's what it says, right there and on the back of this shirt it's going to say "tough for purpose" and that's what we got to have. So... SUCHANEK: Do you think um, I guess he's been here six months, he understands what he's, what Kentucky basketball is all about? KEIGHTLEY: I, I think he knows this as he told me, he said "I didn't come here to lose". No, I, until you really experience the, the atmosphere around the games, I don't think you really know because I don't know, you know what kind of crowds they had at A & M but I know the arena wasn't huge, maybe 12 thousand and the other places he's been was smaller than that and I, I think and all the other coaches and assistants that came in there they, they haven't been exposed to it, maybe Glynn Cyprien, he was at Arkansas, maybe he's been exposed to it to a degree because he worked with Eddie Sutton for awhile but Eddie Sutton, you know thought he knew but he didn't and uh... SUCHANEK: So he has to, Billy Clyde still doesn't really get it yet, does he? KEIGHTLEY: Well, he, I, I know, I know you think, I, I'm sure he thinks he does and being in the you know, the fish bowl in, when you kind of stay away from the people, they make up their own stories you know and but, I, I think, no, he has not experienced it like 24 thousand people on Midnight Madness. SUCHANEK: That will be his introduction, won't it? KEIGHTLEY: That, that'll, that'll be total introduction for this staff. [Phone Rings] KEIGHTLEY: We'll let that ding-a-ling I think, unless this is, yeah, yep that's not worthy. SUCHANEK: I, I noticed the, you got the tents out front. KEIGHTLEY: Oh yes. SUCHANEK: People waiting to get their tickets for Midnight Madness so that might be a little clue for him. KEIGHTLEY: That's a, you know I don't know really, I got to find out how they are going to handle that thing this year, normally you know they bivouac out front. SUCHANEK: Well, yeah they're out front. KEIGHTLEY: That, that's. SUCHANEK: They're on the side here. KEIGHTLEY: Uncle Charlie and Wally Clark that was the one that was here for so many years. SUCHANEK: Right. KEIGHTLEY: And they've got their own generator and all that stuff, that's air conditioned and, SUCHANEK: I mean they spend a week or two. KEIGHTLEY: Yes, well yeah, you know they show you a little bit. SUCHANEK: Well here it is the 26th and Midnight Madness isn't until the 12th and I, I guess they give out the tickets. KEIGHTLEY: Maybe it starts Monday or something. SUCHANEK: Something like that yeah. KEIGHTLEY: Yeah, but, I, I was going to tell you this morning, you know I'm rolling up here somewhere between 4:30 and a quarter to 5, somewhere like that and I didn't park down here at this lower, I always park down there, nope I didn't do that because I did not want to get intercepted at 4:30 in the morning. SUCHANEK: Right (laughing). KEIGHTLEY: Which would have happened, so I parked up at the top side. Okay, I'm, I'm getting out already got, had my newspaper and there was a car coming up the street so I stand there and let it go by, low and behold it's another guy that's just driven up from Northern Kentucky and he's getting in line, so I had to talk to him. SUCHANEK: (Laughing). KEIGHTLEY: Standing in the middle of the street, 4:30 or quarter to 5 in the morning. SUCHANEK: Yeah, that's Kentucky basketball. KEIGHTLEY: That's Kentucky basketball, now you know unless you've been here you can't phantom such a thing. SUCHANEK: Do you think coach understands, you made reference to it just a second ago about his visibility and so far he hasn't been very visible I guess the way a UK coach has to get acclimated to, you know, you can't, a UK coach can't just stay in his office, he's got to be out with the people. KEIGHTLEY: Well, you, you know. SUCHANEK: Have you told him that? KEIGHTLEY: No. You know, his, his thing is since he's been here other than during our camps, the camps that we had. SUCHANEK: Yeah, he's been recruiting. KEIGHTLEY: He's been out recruiting so that don't leave time, you know like the month of September, I got the recruiting schedule there, other than a 7 days, the whole month is a contact period where you go talk to kids and you know instead of being out in, in the town backslapping, this fellow, this fellow is out recruiting. SUCHANEK: Well I was going to ask you that too. Is there a difference, have you seen a difference in the way he's re-, goes about recruiting as to, it's no knock on Tubby it's just different styles, the way Tubby would. KEIGHTLEY: Yeah, yeah definitely because Billy understands and I always understood and other people have got to finally get it figured out, if you don't bring kids and get them on your campus, you're never going to get them to come to school. The last, you know, the last football game with Louisville we had 8 recruits in, we haven't had 8 recruits in the last five years, now that's just one weekend, that's not taking into account some of them come on Thursday's and some may come on Friday's but this one's just for a Saturday, so you know, he's that, that's where he's spending his time because you know if he goes out here and stands on the sidewalk and shakes hands with everybody he sees and pats them on the back, he's not getting players. SUCHANEK: Right. KEIGHTLEY: Now, you know everybody, SUCHANEK: That's the measure of success. KEIGHTLEY: Everybody want, wants to know him or as they always would say, everybody wants a piece of you, so and, and then if they can't, you know if that don't work just exactly to their, you know to their beliefs then when we start winning all these games they'll love that. SUCHANEK: That's the bottom line isn't it? KEIGHTLEY: That's the bottom line is winning the games, the other, the other stuff, you know is just a little icing on the cake to get everybody to say a nice word about you, well you know, if you don't come in contact with everybody, can't everybody say you know what a great guy you are when in reality if you even, if you do come in contact with them they might not be right (laughing) but yeah, he, he is, he is obsessed with, with coaching a basketball program for the University of Kentucky and that's his job, that's what he gets paid the bucks for, it's not his job to be a PR man. SUCHANEK: Does, does every coach who comes here, is that like when Rick Pitino came here of course he was a showman all the time but like when Tubby, was Tubby the same way when he first started and it kind of drifted the longer he stayed or? KEIGHTLEY: Well, you know Tubby was a, was always a good man by his nature, that, you know he was a rural African American from a large family and he was very mild mannered and always you know just a very outgoing and friendly person and gave everybody the same amount of time but you know, SUCHANEK: As far as recruiting was he, was he at all, at any time during his tenure was he at all like Billy Gillispie? KEIGHTLEY: Was he what now? SUCHANEK: Was he at all like Billy Gillispie during his tenure as far as you know meeting personally with recruits doing a lot of personal eyeballing? KEIGHTLEY: Yeah, they, well I don't, I don't think I, Tubby, Tubby did not have or make an attempt to recruit as many different people as, as Billy, you know he's got, you know he's, he's got a plan, he may have 5 big men come in here at one time but he knows he's not going to get them all and Tubby would just have plan A and, SUCHANEK: If it didn't pan out, KEIGHTLEY: If it didn't pan out, SUCHANEK: There was no plan B. KEIGHTLEY: Man you were left scrambling, now, now that's not going to happen to Billy, he's not going to be left scrambling, he's going to know something about all these guys that he would consider and whereas in the past we might just hone in on one guy and something got that plug pulled and we were. SUCHANEK: Well so many times, I mean it was. KEIGHTLEY: It, it happened so many times. SUCHANEK: Yeah, I mean in the past 5 years, you know, it, it would be late in the recruiting period and, and we would be waiting for word from like you said a big man and once he, you know by the time he committed to Duke or North Carolina or somewhere else it was too late to get somebody else. KEIGHTLEY: Yes, it, that's right, if you don't, if, you've got to have the backup plan and, and that's you know, I'd say that, that's the biggest difference is you know, as human being you don't find a better a guy than Tubby but people have different methods of recruiting. SUCHANEK: Sure. KEIGHTLEY: And also different formulas for success and all of our coaches have had, had success and hadn't any of them really failed and so there is no exact blueprint on how you should do it but they, they, at least Billy has a blueprint that's somewhat different from, from Tubby. SUCHANEK: You know he, he comes with a different pedigree than Rick Pitino had and Tubby Smith had, even though Tubby and Rick played two different kinds of styles. KEIGHTLEY: Yes. SUCHANEK: You know Billy Gillispie, you know, started under Bill Self I guess, right? KEIGHTLEY: That's right, yes. SUCHANEK: And so you know, he in, in more of a, more of a southwest, more of a Oklahoma, Nebraska, Kansas kind of coaching back ground and Arkansas. KEIGHTLEY: Yes, a little bit, yeah little, SUCHANEK: Rather than back east where... KEIGHTLEY: Little, little faster pace and possibly always a little more intense. Which intensity will win you more games than anything else, if you don't, if you don't ever let up, that's what I'm talking about you know when you don't walk when you can run and you don't run when you better sprint so, that's that's the philosophy and that's, that's what wins games and that's the kind of recruits that you want in plan A and also plan B, anybody that can't do that, you don't need to have them in your plan. SUCHANEK: Have you noticed different geographical region of the country that Billy recruits from as opposed to Tubby and Rick Pitino? I know Rick Pitino was a lot you know, New England because that's, that's what he knew. KEIGHTLEY: Yes. Well, of course Billy hadn't been here long enough yet to really you know define that but he's, SUCHANEK: I know he has a lot of connections in Texas. KEIGHTLEY: Well, yes, that's right that's where you're from, yes but he's, he has done and outstanding job in the six months he's been here with the kids in this state. I mean, you know, we got the, the Miller kid and of course we got Orton that's still won't be here until the year 2011 but he is a tremendous prospect and he's already you know got a verbal commitment and he's got several verbal commitments you know we one, a kid in Chicago, Lincoln. SUCHANEK: Uh-huh, he's now in Nevada right? KEIGHTLEY: Yes, yes and, and. SUCHANEK: How about this kid from Scott County, was there any attempt to recruit him, I think. KEIGHTLEY: Well we never have really honed in on that, I'm talking about you know, out of the past, so I, you know, right now. SUCHANEK: Of course we got, you know Jared. KEIGHTLEY: Yeah we, we, we, we need, we need to have some big people right now, that's, that's, that's what we really need and he's another one in the long line of 6'2" guys, a nice player but we, we need, we need big people now. SUCHANEK: Well that was uh the thing that I noticed so far is Coach Gillispie has recruited a lot of guards it seems like or at least swing men and, it's only now that it seems like he's, he's of course we've got Patterson but it seems like he's switching more towards focusing on the big men now. KEIGHTLEY: Yes, he is. Yes, yes. [Phone Rings] KEIGHTLEY: No can't do that one (laughing) Yeah it's gonna, it's, it's really going to be interesting to see exactly. See we just have 13 scholarship players so, it's going to be interesting and you know he, he wouldn't just take another guy just to tie up, you know somebody that's a project, he, he wouldn't do that. SUCHANEK: It seemed to me that he's really taking his time filling out his coaching staff and I was just wondering how you view that, is it just he's been so busy on the recruiting trail or is it, he, he's just real careful about who he gets on his coaching staff and he, he gets them for a certain reason or maybe he just doesn't rely as much on his coaching staff the way Tubby did, it seemed like Tubby put a lot of responsibility in regards to recruiting, individual coaching on his assistant coaches. KEIGHTLEY: Yeah, well. SUCHANEK: Or is it a combination of all those things? KEIGHTLEY: Yeah the, yeah Billy puts a lot of, of recruiting on his assistant coaches now he has, we still, we just had one kid that he brought in here that came from Illinois and the kid had been here about three months and now he got, he got the assistant's job back in Illinois where to fill a position of another guy that we brought in here. SUCHANEK: Right. KEIGHTLEY: But yes, he, Billy puts a lot of pressure on his, on his assistant coaches. SUCHANEK: Does he? KEIGHTLEY: But he also works, now he's, hey he, he is, he is the head master when it comes to going out and recruiting, he don't say "you go", he'll say, you know "you follow me" and that's the reason they got the guy from Illinois, he's got a lot of connections in that area. SUCHANEK: And Chicago? KEIGHTLEY: Yes, that's right in that area which is a fertile ground and that's the reason we have Glynn Cyprien who was at Arkansas last year but he's also been out in the Midwest you know at Oklahoma so. SUCHANEK: How does, how does a head coach pick his assistants? Is it based on references or connections or the part of the country they're from? KEIGHTLEY: I, I suspect Jeff that he; you run across these different guys when you are recruiting like Billy. I think, I think you probably study these guys that your recruiting against which he has been you know, he's recruited against all these guys at some time and I think that, that's probably the yard stick, you see some quality in this person that you really think fits your scheme of things and I think, that's, that's what he's done and he, he really, this is a great staff for recruiting, it really is. But you got to recruit everyday and this, this group does that I mean there is a no contact period but you can write letters or text or whatever although that thing supposed to come to an end. But yes I think he just hired the people are to his, his quality in a person that would make a top recruiter. SUCHANEK: In, in the part of the country that their familiar with, that has to play a part of it too, like you said this fellow from Illinois has a lot of connections in Chicago so apparently Chicago is a place that Billy wants to recruit from, he's got the recruit, he's got the ties down at Texas, there's a lot of good players come out of Texas now. KEIGHTLEY: Oh yes. SUCHANEK: Which didn't used to be, but apparently Texas is now a fertile ground for basketball. KEIGHTLEY: Well it is, yes, it has, it's always been football but now well, you know, why Texas has somewhere around 1500 high school teams and the state of Kentucky maybe has 275 so you know the odds is 6 to 1 to start with same thing true with Ohio, which is also a fertile ground. SUCHANEK: Uh-huh, do we have somebody a coaching that's familiar with the Ohio area? KEIGHTLEY: I, yes Billy knows quite a bit about Ohio. SUCHANEK: Does he? KEIGHTLEY: Yes he does, yes so you know he, he being at Illinois you know he recruited in the Big Ten. SUCHANEK: That's true. KEIGHTLEY: Area. SUCHANEK: Of course with Ohio State, you know it's probably pretty difficult to recruit in Ohio at this point, five years ago maybe not so much. KEIGHTLEY: Yes. SUCHANEK: Because Ohio, you know Ohio State was football and now it's both. KEIGHTLEY: Yeah, it's both but the thing about the state of Ohio is you know, it's a very populous state, one thing about it Ohio State can't take every good player. SUCHANEK: That's right. KEIGHTLEY: Out of the state of Ohio, you're only going to get about 2 a year. SUCHANEK: Let me ask you this, do you think Coach Gillispie understands the importance of having some Kentucky players on the team? KEIGHTLEY: Oh yes, absolutely, yes he, he's a strong believer, you know that's the reason when he was in Texas and that's where he's from, you know he, that's the reason he worked so hard on, on recruiting in Texas 'cause most of his squad was from Texas. SUCHANEK: Because you know, the Kentucky... KEIGHTLEY: And he thinks in here you know we don't that many from Kentucky so, yes, that thing will take a strong upturn believe me it will. It's just time that we're producing some big guys that can play for a change. SUCHANEK: Right. KEIGHTLEY: And..... SUCHANEK: Some top fight players. KEIGHTLEY: Yeah, top flight players. SUCHANEK: So you don't, you don't see anymore of the fellow who went to Tennessee from Mason County, Lofton, you don't see us losing a Chris Lofton anymore? KEIGHTLEY: Yes, yes, no you won't see that happen again. No. No. That's, a kid like that belongs at his home state school and I'm sorry that ever turned out that-a-way but, that, that kid deserved to be at Kentucky. SUCHANEK: I mean, I don't think there's a, a better pure shooter in college basketball. KEIGHTLEY: There's not and everybody that still trying to find a reason he can't play, they still, they still trying to find a reason because they haven't discovered it yet, they'll say "well he's not a good defensive player", well he, he don't guard five people at one time that's for certain. SUCHANEK: (Laughing) of course they didn't think Austin Carr would make a good NBA player either. KEIGHTLEY: Yeah, the other thing of it is don't let him have a shot if it's a game winning shot. SUCHANEK: That's right. KEIGHTLEY: Because you're going to be in trouble. SUCHANEK: Lloyd Free was too small to play in the NBA. KEIGHTLEY: Oh yes, yep. SUCHANEK: Lee Archibald. KEIGHTLEY: Yes, right. Earl B. SUCHANEK: Muggsy Bogues (laughing). Well just to wrap up today then, how do you feel about today about the basketball program as we start to head into the new season, is it exciting time are you predicting, you said that we're going to be overachievers. KEIGHTLEY: Yes, well, yeah you know, and I'm eternal optimist and yes I'm excited because I, I feel, I feel the change in the program. I, I think we just had leveled off and we're just, we've been having you know success but maybe not as much as our fans would like. SUCHANEK: Well I can tell when we talked in the winter and spring, you weren't very happy. KEIGHTLEY: It's a, it's a situation now that I'd, I can feel, I can feel the upturn and I know that we're going to be back going up the chart, I know that. SUCHANEK: You think. KEIGHTLEY: And I'm excited about it. SUCHANEK: You anticipate it'll take awhile for this you know maybe into January before things start to come together for this team? KEIGHTLEY: Well it's, it'll, I really don't know how, how we going, as I stated, we're going to over achieve but as to what level of overachievement I, I really would hesitate to say but I do know this, that by next year we, we going to be, we going to be a, a national power because we only have two seniors and these kids are all getting indoctrinated into the Billy Clyde style plus we got some really good recruits coming in so we definitely are on the rise, I can feel that and, and I, the fans feel it, yes, they, they feel it, I mean I know by talking to people that you know, of course their expectations always high but now, now they're about to go out the top again. SUCHANEK: How hard is it for a senior like Joe Crawford to deal with this kind of coaching change, is, have you noticed anything? KEIGHTLEY: No, Joe, Joe is doing, he's, he's adapted really well, well you know Joe and Ramel, they're older now and they've matured you know, there comes a time when you kind of leave your little boyhood things behind and become a man so they have matured and you know those two guys are on course to graduate and I don't think many people ever figured that would happen and that's, I give Tubby that credit. SUCHANEK: Well I'm surprised to read in here in the news about Randolph Morris being back this summer. KEIGHTLEY: Well yeah. SUCHANEK: Working on his degree. KEIGHTLEY: You know that kids going to graduate, he will get his degree and that helps our program. SUCHANEK: Sure. KEIGHTLEY: Yeah, he, he you know he left, he left early missed about a month of school but he kept up online, he came back, he took the test and passed everyone of them, but he, he's a bright kid though. SUCHANEK: Has Derrick Jasper developed a jump shot yet? KEIGHTLEY: No sir. (Laughing) What a great kid but no. But see he's been unable to, to work out because of his knee problem and Jared Carter hadn't been able to participate, he has in the conditioning but as far as playing he's not. SUCHANEK: How is his shoulder doing? KEIGHTLEY: I really can't, he runs well but I really can't tell you much about how his, how much his game's improved because he hadn't been able to play. SUCHANEK: Right. KEIGHTLEY: And you know he can shoot by himself and then Joe's had that knee surgery and. SUCHANEK: Right, he's out for a while isn't he? KEIGHTLEY: He, he's, so those three are woefully behind. SUCHANEK: Who's the leader on this team so far? KEIGHTLEY: Well, it's, it's going to, it, it's going to be Ramel. It's got to be. I'd like for Jodie Meeks to be a little more assertive because he's, he's a bona fide All American candidate before he gets out of here. And uh... SUCHANEK: He can shoot. He, he's really the one shooter we've got. KEIGHTLEY: Yeah, deadly and such a great kid (laughing) That's, he's a lot like, we say Tayshaun, he don't say a lot but he's very mannerly, he don't miss class, he just does what he's supposed to do. And yeah, he's, but you know, it's hard for me to realize that he's just a sophomore. SUCHANEK: That's right. KEIGHTLEY: It's hard to be a leader as a sophomore. SUCHANEK: Well he's going to be a lot more integral on this team for us to have success this year. KEIGHTLEY: Yes, yeah so. SUCHANEK: Well we'll just leave it at that for today and next time we're going to talk about the late 90's teams. KEIGHTLEY: Oh, okay. SUCHANEK: (laughing) KEIGHTLEY: We, we can do that, yes sir we can do that one. SUCHANEK: Alright. Keightley talks about the search for a new coach after Tubby Smith's departure, and the speculation around whether or not University of Florida coach Billy Donovan would take the position. He touches on Donovan's short-lived transfer to the NBA team, the Orlando Magic, and the toll career athletics positions can take on family life. Keightley compares the coaching styles of Tubby Smith and new coach, Billy Gillispie, and talks about the fan pressure on UK coaches before concluding with a summary of potential key players and developments for the upcoming season. UKAW; University of Kentucky Men's Basketball