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Knight, Pitino Getting Attention

College basketball: Former Indiana coach will visit Texas Tech on Thursday, while former Celtic coach is 'impressed' with Louisville.

March 12, 2001|From Associated Press

The two most prominent coaching candidates were busy Sunday.

Deposed Indiana coach Bob Knight, the only candidate for Texas Tech basketball coach, plans to visit Lubbock on Thursday, Athletic Director Gerald Myers said Sunday.

Myers said 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," he 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.

Meanwhile, Rick Pitino met with Louisville Athletic Director Tom Jurich, but told that no agreement has been reached. Pitino told Jurich he would call him after his work as a television analyst for Tuesday's first-round NCAA tournament games.

"I was really impressed with [Jurich]," Pitino said. "He has a great passion for winning. It went real well."

Dick Vitale also reported on that Michigan will fire Coach Brian Ellerbe soon, and that Pitino is first on the Wolverine wish list.

Meanwhile, 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 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.

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

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