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Five years ago, Gillispie was one of the hottest names in the college game and had reached a pinnacle: coaching at perennial powerhouse Kentucky.

That peak lasted just two years. He was fired from Kentucky in 2009 after going 40-27 in two seasons, and the Wildcats missed the NCAA tournament for the first time in 17 years. When he returned to coaching at Texas Tech two years later, he came cheap. He went from an annual salary at Kentucky of $2.3 million to $800,000 a year at Texas Tech, signing a five-year contract to succeed Pat Knight.

In late 2009, Gillispie and Kentucky settled lawsuits against each other, with the former Wildcats coach getting about $3 million with no admission of wrongdoing from the school. Six months after his firing, Gillispie sought treatment at John Lucas’ substance-abuse program in Houston following his third arrest for drunken driving in 10 years.

Gillispie’s first two years as a college head coach were at UTEP in the Western Athletic Conference. He made headlines there for the biggest turnaround in basketball history, taking the Miners from 6-24 in 2002-03 to 24-8 the following year.

The conference named him coach of the year in 2004, the same year he was a finalist for the Naismith Coach of the Year _ the first of three times he made the final cut. He was then an adept recruiter, and he stayed in close contact with scores of Texas high school coaches to stay in the loop about the state’s talent.

He later went to Texas A&M, taking a downtrodden program and leading the Aggies to three consecutive 20-win seasons after they went winless in Big 12 play the year before he got there. At the end of Gillispie’s first year with the Aggies in 2005, he was named the AP’s Big 12 coach of the year.

It was the NIT after his first season and the NCAA tournament after the next two _ getting the Aggies to the round of 16 in 2007. But Kentucky came courting, and two weeks after his final game with the Aggies, a 65-64 loss to Memphis in the NCAA regional semifinals, he left Texas for the Bluegrass State.

Gillispie is among the basketball coaches who have lost significant amounts of money because of investments with David Salinas, who committed suicide last year as federal investigators probed his management of college coaches’ money.

Baylor’s Scott Drew, former Arizona coach Lute Olson, former Utah coach Ray Giacoletti _ now an assistant at Gonzaga _ and Baylor football coach Art Briles, who previously coached at Houston, also invested.