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Knight Is Reprimanded for Spat

After avoiding suspension, the Texas Tech coach says he regrets an incident with the school's chancellor.

February 04, 2004|From Associated Press

LUBBOCK, Texas — Bob Knight was reprimanded but not suspended Tuesday for his loud public outburst at Texas Tech Chancellor David Smith.

After coaching his No. 19 Red Raiders to an 83-63 victory over Baylor on Tuesday night, Knight said there had been discussions about a suspension. The coach also said he could have avoided Monday's episode by simply walking away from Smith at a grocery store.

"I regret that the situation turned out the way it did," Knight said earlier in a four-paragraph news release. "I look forward to finishing this season in a strong fashion, and I am glad the situation is behind me so that I can return to the business of coaching."

Texas Tech Athletic Director Gerald Myers said in a statement that "appropriate personnel action" was taken regarding the verbal spat.

As Knight left the court after Tuesday night's home win, the crowd cheered loudly and he acknowledged the fans by raising his right hand in appreciation.

After the game, Knight said he hadn't eaten in 48 hours and hadn't slept much. He said he talked with his wife Monday night about how he would have handled a suspension.

Knight said he would have gone "through whatever means were available to fight that, but I would have stayed through the suspension simply because I feel so strongly about this situation, this school, this community and these kids and that would not have been easy for me to do, but I would have done it with them."

In his version of the incident, Knight said Smith followed him to the side of the salad bar and said, "You've got issues. What are they?"

"Right then is where I think I was at fault," Knight said. "I should have shook my head, walked away, done a lot of other things, and I didn't. I went on to tell him what one of those issues was and then it got back and forth a little bit.

"But the one thing there was, that I absolutely did not instigate anything."

Before the game, Knight received a rousing ovation when he came onto the court a couple of minutes earlier than usual. Even a Baylor assistant, standing under the basket during warmups, applauded as Knight walked out and shook hands with the coach.

A row of students near the Texas Tech bench wore red T-shirts with white lettering that read, "Lettuce Support Coach Knight" -- a reference to rumors that lettuce had been thrown during the incident.

Knight spent much of the day meeting with school officials.

This is the first time Texas Tech has punished Knight in his three seasons at the school. He was hired in March 2001, six months after he was fired by Indiana for what then-school president Myles Brand called his "pattern of unacceptable behavior."

Myers, the only one of the three people most instrumental in hiring Knight who still works for the university, was with Knight on Monday when the spat occurred. Myers is a former basketball coach who has been friends with Knight for three decades.

"This is a misunderstanding and has now been rectified," Myers said in the statement.

Knight has no behavior clause in his contract. At the time of his hiring, Myers and then-school president David Schmidly said they thought that none was needed.

In the school's statement, Smith said he appreciated how Myers and school President Jon Whitmore had resolved the issue.

The incident occurred six weeks after Knight went into a profanity-filled tirade upon being asked by an ESPN analyst about his relationship with his former player Steve Alford, now the Iowa coach, who was also participating in the interview. Knight later apologized for his behavior.

In the victory, Texas Tech (17-4, 5-2 Big 12) used a 13-2 run to pull away from a halftime tie with Baylor (6-14, 1-7). Andre Emmett led the Red Raiders with 25 points.

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