Sunday, March 11, 2001

Knight to visit Texas Tech this week




By MICHELLE KOIDIN
Associated Press Writer

        LUBBOCK, Texas — Deposed Indiana coach Bob Knight, the only candidate so far for Texas Tech men's basketball coach, will be in Lubbock for quite a while this week.

        Athletic director Gerald Myers said Sunday that he planned to talk to Knight before then about possible contract terms.

        “We really haven't gotten down to the details of all that yet,” Myers said. “We've been thinking about what we could do.”

        The coach's salary comes from ticket sales, TV contracts, conference revenues and booster club funds; state law prohibits using state funds to pay coaches.

        Knight, in a story posted on The Dallas Morning News Web site Sunday, said the Lubbock visit will last three days.

        The coach declined to discuss the likelihood of taking the job, but when asked if he was optimistic a deal could be reached, replied, “Oh, yes.”

        Knight, whose 29-year run at Indiana included three national championships and 11 Big Ten titles, was fired in September for violating a “zero-tolerance” behavior policy. Among other problems, the Hall of Fame coach grabbed the arm of a freshman who called him by his last name.

        The “zero-tolerance” rule was imposed after an investigation by the university turned up a videotape that showed Knight putting his hand around a former player's neck.

        Myers said behavior would not be addressed in a contract at Texas Tech.

        “This will be a normal employment contract,” he said. “I know Coach Knight real well. We've been friends for a long number of years. I think the relationship I have with him, I can talk to him about any issues or anything that may come up.”

        In any case, no offer could be made until at least March 23 because state law mandates the position be open for 10 working days.

        The job became available on Friday when Tech fired 10-year coach James Dickey, who went 9-19 this year.

        Knight's lawyer, Russell Yates of Denver, did not return a call to his office Sunday seeking comment on Knight's plans.

        But Myers is hopeful.

        “I think he would have to be pretty interested to come out for a visit,” he said. Knight's wife will be joining him on the trip.

        James Sowell of Dallas, chairman of Texas Tech's Board of Regents, said Sunday he probably will come to meet with Knight.

        Sowell said he told Myers he also wants to have three or four other candidates lined up.

        The chairman said he has not spoken to any of the other eight regents who would have to approve a hiring recommendation from Myers. He declined to say how he might vote.

        He said while Knight is an outstanding coach, he also brings “questions about his temper, his anger and his language.”

        But Sowell believes some of the problem might have been overblown, and he pointed out some of Knight's strong suits: no major NCAA violations, a high graduation rate.

        “I think if a guy was an embarrassment to the university, that would have come up in 29 years,” he said. “I personally wouldn't want anything to happen to the university that would be an embarrassment. But I'm willing to be open-minded.”

        Sowell waved off criticism which followed news reports that Myers and Tech president David Schmidly met with Knight in Florida four days before firing Dickey.

        He said the decision to dismiss Dickey was made Monday, but doing it before the Big 12 Championship or immediately after Tech's loss to Oklahoma State Thursday would have been inappropriate.

        “I think we told him at the exact right time,” Sowell said. “I'm just amazed how somebody feels like it should have be handled differently. I wouldn't change one thing that's happened, except for the leaks.”

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