Knight visits Texas Tech

Posted: Friday, March 16, 2001

LUBBOCK, Texas (AP) -- Bob Knight has brushed aside other job opportunities to focus on Texas Tech.

Ten days after Tech's president and athletic director approached Knight, the controversial basketball coach arrived in Lubbock on Thursday for a three-day visit.

''I've had contacts since talking to Texas Tech in different ways and I've just said I don't have any interest,'' the former Indiana coach said during a brief news conference. ''This is a situation that appeals to me tremendously.

''I think this is a community that I would really like. I think the people here are people that I would really like. I think that there are people here that I would thoroughly enjoy. If I coach here, I hope that we would put a team together that they could thoroughly enjoy.''

But at least 58 faculty members have put their names on an e-mail petition opposing Knight on grounds that his well-publicized outbursts would cast a shadow on the school.

Knight and athletic director Gerald Myers spoke at the United Spirit Arena. Knight last visited the $68 million facility on its opening night, Nov. 19, 1999, when the Hoosiers beat Tech 68-60.

The Hall of Fame coach, who led Indiana to three national championships and 11 Big Ten titles over 29 years, has sat out the past six months after being fired for violating a zero-tolerance behavior policy.

In interviews this week, Knight has seemed eager to discuss the opening created when James Dickey was fired last Friday after going 9-19 in his 10th season as coach of the Red Raiders. In the past few years, Tech has lost nine scholarships because of NCAA sanctions over recruiting and unethical conduct.

Both Knight and Myers have said they would work well together.

At Indiana, Knight was placed under a zero-tolerance policy after university officials turned up a videotape that showed him putting his hand around a former player's neck. He later was fired after grabbing a student by the arm to lecture him on manners.

Texas Tech spokeswoman Cindy Rugeley said Thursday that school president David Schmidly had looked at the petition and would discuss the opposition with faculty members at the Faculty Senate meeting Wednesday.

Knight's stops Friday include meetings with Schmidly, Chancellor John Montford, some regents, some athletic department staff and some coaches. He also will attend the Texas Tech women's NCAA game with Pennsylvania.

He also will visit some student leaders, including basketball team member Andy Ellis, and look around Lubbock.

Knight's supporters, meanwhile, list numerous attributes: He wins, he runs a program free of major NCAA violations and he draws not only big crowds but top recruits.

Knight's son, Pat, said Thursday he believes his father will take the Tech job if offered.

''I know he likes the situation,'' said the younger Knight, an assistant coach at Akron. ''We were there last year and he made a comment about what a nice facility it is. I know he likes Coach Myers and that Coach Myers is somebody he can trust. That factors into it huge, especially after what happened last year.

''You know for him to go down there, it has to be close. He wouldn't go down there for nothing. If he's going down there, it's got to be pretty close in his mind.''

Under university policy, the job must remain open for 10 business days, or until 5 p.m. on March 23.

In the meantime, one of Tech's recruits for next year said he liked the idea of playing for ''a legend.''

''I do believe,'' said Billy Pharis, a sophomore forward at Westark College in Fort Smith, Ark., ''that if I played for him, he would get the best out of me as a basketball player.''



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