Action taken against Knight

Wednesday, February 4, 2004

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

Tech athletic director Gerald Myers said in a statement that "appropriate personnel action" was taken regarding Monday's verbal spat involving the coach at an upscale grocery store.

"I regret that the situation turned out the way it did," Knight said 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."

Knight guided the No. 19 Red Raiders to an 83-63 victory against Baylor at home Tuesday night. He received a rousing ovation when he came onto the court a couple of minutes earlier than usual.

He spent much of the day meeting with school officials.

This is the first time 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 roughly three decades.

"This is a misunderstanding and has now been rectified," Myers said in the statement. "The matter has been resolved in the best interest of the university."

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

In the statement, Smith said he applauded how Whitmore and Myers resolved this issue.

Schmidly has been replaced by Jon Whitmore. Smith replaced John Montford, a former state senator from Lubbock and a prolific fund-raiser.

In the statement, Smith said he applauded how Whitmore and Myers resolved this issue.

"We look forward to the continuation of what is already a successful season," Smith said.

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

A Hall of Famer, Knight was hired at Tech to revive a downtrodden program. He did that by getting the Red Raiders into the NCAA tournament his first season, but wasn't able to get back last season. In response, he returned his $250,000 salary to the school, saying he hadn't earned it.

Tech won 12 straight this season, the school's best streak since reaching the Sweet 16 in 1995-96, but then lost its next two going into the Baylor game.

His overall record at Tech is 61-26, making him 825-315 over 38 seasons. He has the most wins among active men's coaches and he's 54 from tying Dean Smith for the career lead.

Yet Knight's fiery temper has often overshadowed his on-court success.

In his 29 years at Indiana, he won three national championships and 11 Big Ten titles. Yet he's also remembered for throwing a chair across a court, punching a police officer in Puerto Rico and kicking a chair his son, then a player, was sitting in. He also was accused of choking a player.

Knight's hiring was widely hailed in Lubbock, except for a group of faculty worried about the possible problems his sometimes volatile behavior could bring. Many recanted and have since become supporters, noting the money he's raised for scholarships and the library.

There have been some run-ins, though.

In January 2002, Knight and the general manager of the Compaq Center in Houston exchanged words after Knight complained about the small size of the locker room. The GM later apologized.

Almost exactly a year ago, Knight earned win No. 800, one of his top moments in Lubbock. It was later reported that he kicked in a television screen during halftime of that game. Knight downplayed that incident, saying he was "apparently the first coach in the history of coaching to ever kick anything or break anything."

Also last season, reserve Nick Valdez left the team after he and star Andre Emmett were punished for oversleeping and missing a morning shoot-around before a game at Texas.

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