Originally created 03/24/01

Bob Knight returns to coaching at Texas Tech



LUBBOCK, Texas -- Bob Knight's six-month exile from college basketball ended Friday with Texas Tech taking a chance on the volatile but successful coach.

Knight signed a five-year, $1.25 million deal with Tech. There are no behavior-related clauses in the contract, athletic director Gerald Myers said.

Knight's volcanic temper led to his firing from Indiana in September after he had coached the Hoosiers to three national titles in 29 years.

Myers said the hiring would give the Red Raiders instant national credibility.

"I think this is the beginning of something special," Myers said. "We've got the opportunity to make this program competitive at the highest level of college basketball."

Knight, 60, was the only serious candidate to replace James Dickey, even though about 100 of the university's 900 faculty members signed a petition against his hiring.

The school was scheduled to introduce Knight to the fans at a news conference Friday night on the court of the United Spirit Arena.

Indiana fired Knight after a series of outbursts almost as long as his list of coaching accomplishments.

Knight's most infamous flare-up in a game was tossing a chair across a court. Years earlier, he was convicted of hitting a Puerto Rican policeman before a practice at the Pan American Games.

Other transgressions include kicking his son's leg during a game and allegedly choking a player in a practice. The final straw was when he grabbed the arm of a student who referred to the coach by his last name.

Tech is counting on Knight to improve a program that finished 9-19 last year. NCAA sanctions that cost nine scholarships over the last four years were part of the problem.

Knight's teams have always followed NCAA rules and had high graduation rates.

"We've had a problem with NCAA penalties and that's set this institution back," university President David Schmidly said. "We don't ever want to be on the wrong side of the NCAA rules again."

Lagging ticket sales has been another problem at the 2-year-old, $68 million United Spirit Arena. Tech's women's basketball team consistently outdraws the men's team.

Talk about Knight's hiring has led to a surge in interest for season tickets. And stores that carry Tech paraphernalia also have enjoyed a boost.

"It's been nuts," said Red Raider Outfitter vice president Stephen Spiegelberg.

A look at Bob Knight, who was hired Friday by Texas Tech:

NAME -- Robert Montgomery Knight, born Oct. 25, 1940, Orrville, Ohio.

AS PLAYER: At Ohio State, was a reserve on three Final Four teams (1960-62).

AS COACH: Three NCAA titles (1976, 1981 and 1987); 11 Big Ten titles; 763-289 record as NCAA head coach; six seasons head coach at Army, (1965-1971); 29 seasons head coach at Indiana (1971-2000); 116 victories away from Dean Smith's all-time win record; last undefeated season by Division I men's basketball team (1976).

PERSONAL: Wife, Karen, a former high school basketball coach; sons Tim and Pat. Hobbies: hunting, fishing, golf.