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MARCH MADNESS / NCAA TOURNAMENT | AROUND THE NATION

Knight's Focus on Texas Tech

March 16, 2001|From Associated Press

Bob Knight said Thursday he 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, Texas, for a three-day visit at the school.

"I've had contacts since talking to Texas Tech [from different schools] 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.

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

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Rick Pitino says his family will help him decide whether to take the Louisville coaching job.

Pitino told ESPN.com he will consult with his wife and five children in Boston on Monday before giving an answer to Athletic Director Tom Jurich next week.

Pitino is confident his wife, Joanne, would support him taking it.

"My wife, there's no question, wants to come back to [the state of] Kentucky," said Pitino, who led the University of Kentucky to a national championship in 1996 before assuming a coach-general manager role with the Boston Celtics. "She realized after being away that absence does make the heart grow fonder and how great Kentucky really was."

Jurich has called Pitino the only candidate to fill the vacancy left by retired Hall of Fame coach Denny Crum.

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Ohio University Coach Larry Hunter was fired after 12 seasons, the last six without an NCAA or NIT berth. Hunter was 19-11 in his final season with Ohio--one spiced by his decision to have white patches sewn over his players' names after a bad loss last month. The team responded with an easy victory in its next game. Hunter had a 204-148 record and reached the NCAA tournament for the only time in 1994. . . . Nevada point guard Andre Hazel has been arrested for stealing a $140 pair of athletic shoes from a sporting goods store in Reno. Hazel, a freshman from Garden Grove, has been suspended from the team and was released on $3,500 bail. He led Nevada (10-18) in assists (3.7 a game) and was the second-leading scorer (eight points a game).

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