Texas Tech fires Knight

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LUBBOCK, Texas --- Pat Knight sat in the Texas Tech locker room and lauded his bosses for the way they let him go after three disappointing seasons.

Texas Tech coach Pat Knight, who has a 50-60 mark in three seasons in Lubbock, will coach the team through this week's Big 12 tournament, then leave the job.   File/Associated Press
File/Associated Press
Texas Tech coach Pat Knight, who has a 50-60 mark in three seasons in Lubbock, will coach the team through this week's Big 12 tournament, then leave the job.

It was, after all, different from the way his famous father was ousted at Indiana more than a decade ago.

"It's not an ugly situation," Knight said. "I mean, we left on good terms. I'm glad it ended like that, especially after being part of the deal at Indiana. That was tough. But this is different. It's business."

Texas Tech fired Knight on Monday, ending a disappointing tenure for a coach who failed to lead the Red Raiders to the NCAA tournament after taking over for his father in February 2008. He will coach the Red Raiders at this week's Big 12 tournament, then step down.

Knight said he was glad his dismissal came before the tournament because of all the potentially negative media chatter about a pending firing.

"It's not just negative toward us. It's negative to the university," he said. "It's not good, even for the guy that's following ... that's why I just told them, when they told me, 'You're not going to get another year,' let's just get it out there now. It worked out for the best."

Knight is 50-60 in his first Division I coaching job and his third full year as head coach. He had only one winning season (19-16 in 2009-10) at Texas Tech.

Knight said the situation felt "surreal."

"I would have loved to have another year to prove myself because of recruits we have coming in, but I understand it's all based on this year and stuff," he said.

Knight seemed to know he might be dismissed after a 71-68 home loss to Colorado on Feb. 23.

"We've lost seven games in the last minute," he said then. "I've proven I can coach. I run a clean program, I don't cheat, my players graduate and we have discipline. So if you don't want me here, there's going to be someone else that wants me."

Knight met with Texas Tech president Guy Bailey early Monday, and the announcement came a short time later. Bailey said it was time for a change.

"I appreciate everything Pat has done for our university, not only as a head coach, but also throughout his career as an assistant," Bailey said in a prepared statement. "I wish him success and the best moving forward."

At the beginning of the season, with six seniors on his squad, Knight said he didn't deserve a contract extension if he did not get the team to the NCAA tournament.


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