Florida A&M informs Gillespie of dismissal by fax
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- Florida A&M University fired basketball coach Mike Gillespie on Tuesday, less than three months after he was charged with misdemeanor stalking.
"This employment action is in the best interests of the men's basketball program and the university," said James Ammons, who became the school's president six weeks ago.
Associate athletic director Alvin Hollins said a committee would be formed to hire a new head coach. No decision has been made on the current assistants, which include Gillespie's son, Mike Gillespie Jr. The school will use an interim coach, Hollins said.
When reached on his cell phone, Gillespie referred the call to his attorney, Tim Jansen.
"We're extremely disappointed," said Jansen, who was informed of the decision by fax Tuesday morning. "I believe their action is totally premature."
Gillespie, who is married, was accused of stalking a former girlfriend who had sought to end their relationship for more than two years.
Police warned the coach in 2005 and again the night before he was arrested in May to stay away from the woman. He was arrested after driving by her workplace on May 25.
Jansen has been attempting to work out a settlement with state prosecutors, and a case management hearing is scheduled for Aug. 29 when the state will offer Gillespie probation with some specific requirements, prosecutor Georgia Cappleman said Tuesday.
Gillespie, who has worn an ankle monitoring device since his arrest, will remain on administrative leave with pay through Nov. 2.
"Players are finding out that he was terminated before the coach was informed," Jansen said. "It's shocking, what FAMU has done and the way they handled this."
Gillespie completed his sixth season at Florida A&M by taking the team to its first 20-win season since 1988-89 and its second NCAA tournament berth in his tenure.
He came to Florida nearly 20 years ago, coaching at St. Leo College for two seasons before coming to Tallahassee in 1990 to coach at a community college.
Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press