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Knight Won't Accept Salary, Cites Poor Job

March 11, 2003|Lance Pugmire | Times Staff Writer

On a Bloody Monday for college basketball, when four men's coaches were either fired or suspended, Texas Tech Coach Bob Knight took matters into his own hands, punishing himself.

Knight, with 803 career wins and three national championships, said he would not accept his annual salary of $250,000 this year because of how poorly his Red Raiders have played.

"I just feel like I had a product and it broke," Knight told the Dallas Morning News. "You shouldn't have to pay for it. That's all I think."

Texas Tech (16-11) has crumpled since giving Knight his 800th victory last month. The Red Raiders, who will play Baylor on Thursday in the first round of the Big 12 Conference tournament, have lost three consecutive games. They fell to Baylor on Saturday, 74-68, even after the Bears suffered an 11-minute drought without a field goal.

"I'm just not at all satisfied with what transpired with our team in terms of our fundamental execution," Knight said. "I don't think it's anybody's fault but mine."

While Knight was penalizing himself -- don't worry, he won't starve, with plenty of income pouring in from endorsements, speaking engagements and radio and television contracts -- some of his peers were being zapped by administrators.

Washington State fired fourth-year coach Paul Graham after a 7-20 season that included 30-year lows in attendance and victories. Washington State Athletic Director Jim Sterk identified Weber State Coach Joe Cravens, Eastern Washington's Ray Giacoletti and Milwaukee Buck assistant Don Newman as possible replacements. Pepperdine assistant Jim Nielsen, a former Cougar player, said he has applied for the job.

Virginia Tech fired coach Ricky Stokes after the Hokies (11-18) failed to qualify for the Big East Conference tournament for the third consecutive season. Stokes' teams were 45-70 during his four seasons.

With its worst record in the school's 103-year history, Columbia (2-25) fired coach Armond Hill.

The toll is expected to climb, with Georgia's suspension and investigation of Jim Harrick and St. Bonaventure's ongoing review of Jan van Breda Kolff, whose players refused to participate in their final two games.

Then, of course, there is Steve Lavin, who can expect to hear from his boss at UCLA right after the Bruins are eliminated.

"I think Bob's doing a great job -- I tried to talk him out of it," Texas Tech Athletic Director Gerald Myers said. "He's averaging 20 wins here and he's lost a lot of close games. He's just too hard on himself."

Texas Tech won 23 games last season and qualified for the NCAA tournament.

Knight, in the second year of a five-year contract, still makes an estimated $650,000 from his other income sources.

"He's doing OK," said Chris Cook, Texas Tech's sports information director.


Staff writer Rob Fernas and Associated Press contributed to this report.

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