Team preview: Florida A&M

Editor's Note: ESPN Insider has teamed with Blue Ribbon College Basketball Yearbook to provide a comprehensive look at all 326 Division I teams. To order the complete 2006-07 edition of Blue Ribbon College Basketball Yearbook, visit www.blueribbonyearbook.com or call 1-866-805-BALL (2255).

(Information in this team report is as of October 1.)

Some day Florida A&M coach Mike Gillespie should write a book.

The book would be on how to survive tough times when they're beyond your control.

Gillespie has been in Tallahassee five years, and though he's made major improvements in the program, his record is under .500. A lot of that is because Florida A&M has to play seven to eight big money games to stave off starvation for the athletics department.

Good for the cross country team perhaps, but not good for the basketball team's record.

During Gillespie's tenure, he has worked for four different athletic directors, five presidents, numerous athletic department personnel, seen his school make the ludicrous decision to move up to Division I-A in football and threaten to leave the MEAC before a scandal happened that saw numerous Rattler student-athletes play who weren't eligible because of compliance errors.

Other than that, Gillespie's first Division I head coaching job has been a piece of cake.

"We've had some tough times here, but there's not much you can do but just plow ahead and persevere," Gillespie said. "We're excited about the upcoming season because we've got some good players back and good players coming into the program."

One thing Gillespie has done is make his team pretty darn good in the MEAC. The Rattlers have finished with a winning record in the league the last four years and won the championship in 2004. Florida A&M could be ready to make another run at a title this season.