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And You Thought the UK Coaching Rumors Were Already Ridiculous...

LEXINGTON, KY - JANUARY 21:  Billy Gillispie, the Head Coach of the Kentucky Wildcats, is pictured during the SEC game against the Auburn Tigers at Rupp Arena on January 21, 2009 in Lexington, Kentucky.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
straitpinkieCorrespondent IMarch 26, 2009

This afternoon, the Pinkie crew has its ear to the street as always, and we have some new rumors to throw your way. We’ll start with the least ridiculous ones and get to a couple funny ones as we go along:

  • This one is actually substantial.

Apparently, Billy Donovan’s contract calls for a $500,000 sum to be paid by Donovan (or his new employer) if he leaves Florida while under contract. But word has it that there is a one-month window each year in which the buyout does not apply: March 1 through April 1.

This means that he is either a) interested in the UK position, b) interested in the Florida position and awaiting word on whether it will be open, or c) both.

  • According to Andy Katz, Kentucky coach Billy Gillispie had not been told of his fate this morning (which I’m not sure I believe, especially if this split is mutual, which I think it will be).

But when UK does make a decision, they will act quickly to go after Donovan, though Florida AD Jeremy Foley would reportedly be “shocked” if Donovan left.

  • There is a lot of talk floating around about a potential “Director of Basketball Operations” who would take over many of UK AD Mitch Barnhart’s basketball responsibilities. The name I have heard most in conjunction with this is Dan Issel, who has been seeking to get involved in UK basketball again for a while.

But perhaps the name I have heard that I think would be the best choice is Larry Conley. He’s been covering the SEC for years, so he’s very much plugged into what’s going on. He’s a great guy, would make a phenomenal representative for UK, and knows his stuff, too.

  • This one is from Bobby E., who apparently loves horses that jump over things:

“Just heard from a member of the board of the 2010 World Equestrian Games that every banker in Lexington swears Billy D has accepted offer and is on his way to the L.E.X.”

  • From the “Rumors that Make Me Ralph” category, the latest name to be mentioned in connection with the Kentucky job is former Dallas Mavericks head coach (and current "dude with a really annoying voice") Avery Johnson.

For more from the Pinkie, go to www.straitpinkie.com.

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