Billy Gillespie Agrees to New Contract with Aggies

COLLEGE STATION, Texas (AP) -- Texas A&M's Billy Gillispie has agreed to a new contract that makes him one of the highest-paid coaches in the Big 12.

Texas A&M spokesman Alan Cannon said Gillispie wouldn't sign the deal -- approved by regents Friday -- until he returns next week from the Final Four in Atlanta.

Gillispie, who was courted by Arkansas and has been mentioned as a candidate for the Kentucky opening, would get a $500,000 raise to $1.75 million. Fellow Big 12 coach Rick Barnes of Texas makes $1.8 million. Kansas' Bill Self, who was Gillispie's boss at Tulsa and Illinois, makes $1.6 million.

The 47-year-old Gillispie took the Aggies to the NCAA tournament's round of 16 this year for the first time since 1980. A&M was just three years removed from finishing 0-16 in the Big 12.

"We look forward to coach Gillispie being here for years to come," regent John White said. "Billy Gillispie and A&M are a great fit."

Speculation about Gillispie's future heated up this week when Arkansas athletic director Frank Broyles said he had offered the Razorbacks' opening to a coach he wouldn't name. Within two days, though, A&M officials were telling their counterparts in Arkansas that Gillispie was staying.

Gillispie is 70-26 in three years with the Aggies, who were 7-21 and winless in conference the season before he arrived. He took over the Aggies after engineering a quick turnaround at UTEP, which went from 6-24 in his first season to 24-8 and a near-upset of Maryland in the NCAA tournament the next year. His five-year record is 100-58.


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