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Old 03-23-2001, 09:27 PM   #1
Bigbluefan
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Knight gets five-year deal to take over Texas Tech
March 23, 2001
SportsLine.com wire reports




LUBBOCK, Texas -- Bob Knight is back in college basketball, ending a six-month exile to coach a Texas Tech team that hopes he can build a winner -- and control his temper.

After missing his first college season since 1963-64, the former Indiana coach signed a five-year, $1.25 million deal with Tech. With other incentives, the salary comes to about $400,000 annually, athletic director Gerald Myers said Friday.

Knight pulled on a red sweater vest as he was introduced to a cheering crowd at United Spirit Arena. This one was embroidered with "TT" instead of "IU."
"This is without a doubt the most comfortable red sweater I've had in six years," said Knight, who almost always wore one while prowling Indiana's sidelines.

There are no behavior-related clauses in the contract, other than the standard requirements of all Tech employees, Myers said. Tech policy states that "cause for termination includes failure to perform duties, actions that are detrimental to the university, and any violation of university, Big 12 or NCAA rules."

Knight's temper led to his firing in September from Indiana, where he had coached the Hoosiers to three national titles in 29 years.

"I just ask that you don't pass judgment until you get to know him," his wife, Karen, told the cheering crowd.

Myers said the hiring would give the Red Raiders instant national credibility.

"I think this is the beginning of something special," Myers said. "We've got the opportunity to make this program competitive at the highest level of college basketball."

The 60-year-old Hall of Fame coach was the only serious candidate to replace James Dickey, even though about 100 of the university's 900 faculty members signed a petition advising against the move.

More than an hour before the formal announcement, a banner welcoming Knight was displayed behind one of the baskets and beneath U.S. and Texas flags. "Welcome to Texas Tech, Coach Bobby Knight. A new era begins," it said.

Knight's new salary puts him a little behind other coaches in the Big 12 Conference, where the average package is $500,000. Some of the higher-profile programs pay much more: Larry Eustachy at Iowa State makes at least $900,000 in total compensation.

Indiana fired Knight for breaking a no-tolerance policy imposed after a series of behavior problems. His list of outbursts is almost as long as his list of coaching accomplishments.

Knight's most infamous flare-up in a game was tossing a chair across a court. Years earlier, he was convicted for hitting a Puerto Rican policeman before a practice at the Pan American Games.

Others include kicking his son's leg during a game and allegedly choking a player in a practice. The final straw was when he grabbed the arm of a student who referred to the coach by his last name.

"The General" did not seriously consider any coaching jobs until this one. Tech officials first met with him early this month in Florida, four days before Dickey was fired.

With Myers pushing for the hiring of his longtime friend, the biggest hurdle was a school rule that prevented it from being completed until 10 business days after Dickey was dismissed.

Tech is counting on Knight to improve a program stuck in reverse since reaching the round of 16 five years ago. NCAA sanctions that cost nine scholarships in the last four years were part of the problem.

Knight, whose programs have always followed NCAA rules and had high graduation rates, should help the Red Raiders become more of a factor in the competitive Big 12, which sent five teams to the NCAA Tournament.

"We've had a problem with NCAA penalties and that's set this institution back," President David Schmidly said. "We don't ever want to be on the wrong side of the NCAA rules again."

Lagging ticket sales has been another problem at the 2-year-old, $68 million United Spirit Arena. Tech's high-profile women's program consistently outdrew the men's team and has been far more popular. While that may change soon, Lady Raiders coach Marsha Sharp has endorsed the hiring of Knight.

Talk about Knight's hiring has led to a surge in interest for season tickets. And local clothing stores that carry Tech paraphernalia also have enjoyed a boost.

"It's been nuts," said Red Raider Outfitter vice president Stephen Spiegelberg.

The store was planning to sell $12 red-and-black camouflage T-shirts at the arena Friday that read: "The General's Army: Serving to Protect the U-Knighted Spirit Arena."

Protecting their home court wasn't something the Red Raiders did particularly well this season. The team was 7-8 at home and finished 9-19 overall.

The season before Knight was hired by Indiana, the Hoosiers went 7-17, 3-11 in Big Ten. They were 17-7, 9-5 in his first season and went on to win four consecutive Big Ten titles from 1973 to 1976.

Overall, Knight has amassed a 763-289 career record while coaching at Army for six years and Indiana for 29. Besides three national championships, his record includes 11 Big Ten championships and an Olympic gold medal in 1984.

Knight is 117 victories behind former North Carolina coach Dean Smith, who leads the NCAA Division I all-time coaching victories list.

Tech administrators would like to see Knight surpass Smith while at Tech. The new Red Raiders coach already has begun recruiting.

He was in Hutchinson, Kan., Tuesday for the national junior college tournament, where two Tech signees were playing. And he called a Houston-area high school coach on Wednesday to let him know he wanted one of his players to visit Tech and hopes to sign him.

"We're getting one of the greatest basketball coaches of all time, and he is getting the opportunity to finish up what has already been a great career," Myers said. "Texas Tech will be a better place for hiring Bob Knight."



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Old 03-23-2001, 11:11 PM   #2
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Yeah, it finally happened. Now the Knight and Pitino rumors can be put to rest. I saw the new conference, by the way. I think it's interesting that "there are no behavior-related clauses in the contract, other than the standard requirements of all Tech employees". I guess this is good in a way - it shows Texas Tech trusts Knight and doesn't think they need to enforce anything.
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Old 03-24-2001, 12:57 PM   #3
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Knight is hired...

...and the crowd goes wild!! Do you hear it? Hear the crowd? I didn't think so!



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Old 03-24-2001, 05:29 PM   #4
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But weren't there something like 2000 people there?

It's hard for me to shake the feeling that Texas Tech (my mom's alma mater, BTW) has sold its soul for some notoriety. It's very interesting that hardly anyone seems to remember: Knight hasn't had a team that's been a national factor since around '92.

Of course, it makes a lot of sense for a program few think about. In a lot of ways, it's like South Carolina hiring Lou Holtz as their football coach a few seasons back. Having Bobby Knight on your sideline gives Tech an instant shot of notoriety and PR. There's more attention around Texas Tech's basketball program now than there has been in years, if ever.

IMO Holtz is a far better football coach than Knight is a hoops coach, but...

Now Tech will see how hard it is to translate attention into wins.
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Old 03-25-2001, 06:05 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally posted by Tom Baker
It's hard for me to shake the feeling that Texas Tech (my mom's alma mater, BTW) has sold its soul for some notoriety.
This is how I feel too. I don't believe you can teach THIS dog new tricks because he's too arrogant to believe he needs to learn any. I'm afraid that Texas Tech will soon come to regret this decision.

Btw, Bigblue...why didn't you tell me you were mod over here?
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Old 03-26-2001, 10:18 AM   #6
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I'm reminded of an old fable about the lady and the snake...a lady was walking by the road in winter and she saw a snake lying by the roadside, almost frozen to death. She picked up the snake and put it inside her coat, getting it warm, saving its life. As soon as the snake was OK, it promptly bit her. As the snake slithered away, she asked it, "Why did you bite me? I saved your life!"

To which the snake responded, "Lady, you knew what I was when you picked me up."

Lady = Texas Tech. Snake = Knight. IMO.

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Old 03-26-2001, 11:19 AM   #7
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Well, I suppose its time for a different opinion:

I like Knight, I like the way he coaches and although he's not the best person, he's not a bad person either. I think he can greatly help the Texas Tech basketball program and that this move is more then just PR.
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Old 03-26-2001, 01:56 PM   #8
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But how many people are going to want to play for him? No doubt that his hiring raises Texas Tech's profile dramatically in the near-term, there's no telling what long-term harm he could do. I remember Oklahoma looking for a quick fix to their ailing football program in hiring Howard Schnellenberger a few years back...it was a total disaster and he left the program in worse shape than he got it. It took them five more years before they were back on the football map. I guess you could say Tech's never really been ON the basketball map in the first place, but...

Also, if I was a recruit of the father of one...there's no way I'd want or want my son to play for Knight. Even if you throw out the last incident (with the student) or the Neil Reed thing...there's a real pattern there. Kicking his own son. Throwing chairs. The Pan Am games business...forget it.
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Old 03-26-2001, 05:00 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally posted by Tom Baker
But how many people are going to want to play for him? No doubt that his hiring raises Texas Tech's profile dramatically in the near-term, there's no telling what long-term harm he could do. I remember Oklahoma looking for a quick fix to their ailing football program in hiring Howard Schnellenberger a few years back...it was a total disaster and he left the program in worse shape than he got it. It took them five more years before they were back on the football map. I guess you could say Tech's never really been ON the basketball map in the first place, but...
I disagree. Would the Indiana program be better off today without Knight's championships, victories, and winning tradition? I don't think you can take away the man's success. Whether you like him or not, whether he has a temper or not, he is undeniably a great coach. And bad temper or not, Knight has recruited some *great* talent at Indiana. He should do no different at Texas Tech. And it's not like Knight beats or harms every player he recruits... just ones that get on his bad side.
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Old 03-26-2001, 05:43 PM   #10
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Who has he beaten?

From what I know, he's only grabbed a couple of guys?
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Old 03-26-2001, 06:01 PM   #11
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There's a lot of hearsay around Knight, but here's where I come down:

At worst, he's a bully and a tyrant and has no business coaching.

At best, he's a hothead who's lost touch with the game of basketball. His record over the last eight seasons of his career at IU was unspectacular at best.

But he'll still get "meat in the seats," at least for the first season. After that????

Texas Tech knows what they're doing, I guess.
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