Thursday, March 15, 2001

Texas Tech braces for Knight visit

Some fans in favor; faculty petition against hiring

The Associated Press

        LUBBOCK, Texas — A divided campus awaits Bob Knight.

        Anticipating his arrival today, at least 30 Texas Tech faculty members added their names to a petition against hiring the former Indiana coach with the infamous temper and knack for winning.

        Vendors selling T-shirts in favor of Knight, meanwhile, cashed in on the dis pute.

        “Mr. Knight, we love your style!” read one. “Techsans for Knight! Supporting discipline and the American Work Ethic!”

        Shouted another: “Put the kids to bed and glue down the chairs, KNIGHT TIME, is coming.”

        Fired six months ago after 29 years with the Hoosiers, Knight was to arrive in Lubbock this afternoon. He will tour the campus and meet with administrators about possibly succeeding James Dickey, who was fired last week after Tech's fourth straight losing season.

        The Hall of Fame coach is coming at the request of his longtime friend, Tech athletic director Gerald Myers. Knight planned to address the media at an early evening news conference but will not take questions.

        “I think he's excited about coming and visiting and taking a look at Texas Tech,” said Myers, adding that he spoke to Knight Wednesday morning.

        Not everyone was excited.

        Associate professor of philosophy Walter Schaller continued Wednesday to circulate an e-mail petition that opposes Knight, and at least 30 faculty members put their names on it.

        In the 2,000-plus-word e-mail, Schaller argues that Knight's ability to build a clean and winning program should not outweigh his repeated misconduct. Schaller plans to forward the letter to Tech president David Schmidly by early next week.

        “Having Mr. Knight as the basketball coach at Texas Tech would bring much negative publicity and damage our reputation in ways that are completely unnecessary,” Schaller wrote. “At a minimum, the announcement of his hiring would be accompanied by the film clip in which he throws a chair across the basketball court, except this time the name of Texas Tech would be attached to such antics.”

        Myers said he could not comment on the petition because he hadn't seen it.

        Some Tech alumni agree with Schaller.

        They've written letters to the Lubbock newspaper to protest Knight, who was fired by Indiana for violating a zero-tolerance behavior policy when he grabbed a freshman by the arm to lecture him on manners.

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