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Big 12 suffers

SPECIAL TO ESPN.COM

What a big blow for the Big 12 conference …

In two short days, the league lost two superstar coaches. Bob Huggins left Kansas State for his alma mater, West Virginia. Billy Gillispie left Texas A&M for Kentucky.

I feel heartbroken for the Kansas State fans, who really were so excited with the presence of Huggins. He brought in talented recruits and a special enthusiasm to Manhattan, Kansas. Now he heading to his alma mater and in fairness, you understand that a guy has the right to go back home.

Then there is Gillispie, who did an oustanding job with the Aggies. Kentucky came calling and you can't blame a guy who was an assistant coach only a few years ago and now is part of one of the most prestigeous programs in America.

You have to wish him the best and for Kentucky, it is an outstanding choice. When he went to College Station, he inherited a team that didn't win a league game the prior season. He built a winner and now it is heartbreak hotel for all of the A&M fans who appreciated what Gillispie had achieved.

Also noteworthy is the status of the incoming recruits. What will happen with Michael Beasley; will he still go to Kansas State or will he try to join Huggins in Mountaineer Country. A&M has one of the premier center prospects in seven-footer DeAndre Jordan. Will he attend school in College Station?

The Big 12 has taken a big hit losing these two quality performers. They both elevated their programs and had them challenging the best, the creme de la creme. It is a sad time in Manhattan, Kansas and College Station, Texas. Hopefully Kansas State and Texas A&M can come up with replacements to do the job Huggins and Gillispie did in a short time.

Dick Vitale coached the Pistons and the University of Detroit before broadcasting ESPN's first college basketball game in December 1979. Send him a question for possible use on ESPNEWS.

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