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"I would play for him again," Robert Lewandowski wrote in an email from Poland, where he plays professionally. "He loves his players, with no exceptions. I would never doubt that for a second. Playing for him was tough, but I came out alive and a better person for it."
"I wouldn't change anything that happened over the last four years," said Lewandowski, who spent three seasons under Pat Knight before Gillispie was hired in March 2011. "Coach Gillispie pushed me to my physical and mental limits, and I came out an improved person. I know I can handle anything that comes my way. The process wasn't very pretty, but isn't that how life usually is?"
"I'm sure he's done some things as a coach that he looked back on and said, 'Whoa ... I got up against the line today. I toed the line a little bit.' But you know what? We've all done that at some point in time when we're trying to get our teams prepared to play at a high level. Ask any coach in America, and he'll tell you there was a time when he said something when he was under stress or something he did under the gun where he went back and said, 'Ooohhh, I wish I would've handled that differently.' [...]
"I'm not defending him. He's a good friend, but that's not why I'm talking. I would defend any coach in a situation where he's trying to do things a certain way to get his program to the point where he thinks it deserves to be. Mistreatment of players should never occur, but there are also two sides to every story. That certainly appears to be the case here, because after hearing from his enemies early, now we've heard from guys who say, 'Oh man, he was so hard on me, but I'm a better man for it.' Including players in his current program.
“A big part of fighting MS is not getting depressed, trying to stay positive,” Jerry Nash said. “Being able to see Jaron play, that’s everything to me.”
Jaron Nash heeded his father’s wishes and asked for his scholarship release following last season. Jerry Nash said he appreciates the way Gillispie handled the situation, and it didn’t stop at allowing his son’s release, he said.
Shortly after Nash was granted that release, Gillispie helped enter the Tech team into an awareness walk for multiple sclerosis around Jones AT&T Stadium as a tribute to Jerry Nash, who was diagnosed with the disease in 1999, he said.
“When Ron-Ron showed me video of that,” Jerry Nash said, “it brought tears to my eyes.”
[...] “Billy Gillispie is a friend of mine,” Jerry Nash said. “I consider him a great coach, a great person and a great man.”