- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 22, 2001

Since the University of Uranus doesn't have an opening, Bobby Knight is reportedly poised to take the coaching job at Texas Tech. It's a marriage made in heaven: Tech's desperate, and he's desperate.
Actually, it's a good fit for a bunch of reasons, such as:
Northwest Texas is famous for its dust storms. So when Knight kicks one up, it won't be as noticeable.
Lubbock is cotton country. Ergo, the natives will have plenty of the stuff to plug their ears with should Bobby go off on one of his tirades.
Lubbock, Texas now there's an exciting metropolis. What kind of sights do you suppose they showed Knight when he visited last week, the Buddy Holly statue and Walk of Fame on Eighth Street? I love this idea that Bobby's excited about Texas Tech because there's good huntin' down thar. Wasn't it just a couple of years ago he accidentally shot a member of his hunting party up in Wisconsin? Yup, I'll bet Texans will just be lining up to hunt with the new basketball coach.
But seriously, folks, taking over the Red Raiders makes a lot of sense for Knight. At Tech, you see, he'll be understood. The athletic director, Gerald Myers, isn't just a longtime friend, he's the school's former coach and past president of the National Association of Basketball Coaches. That was the main problem at Indiana, wasn't it? It wasn't Bobby. It's never Bobby. It was the Hoosiers' wimpy AD, Clarence Doninger (and even wimpier president, Myles Brand).
Myers will understand that when Knight yanks a player off the floor by his jersey or puts his hands on a kid's throat, well, that's just Bobby being Bobby. Every man's got his own style. Also, let's not forget: After Knight divorced his first wife, he married a former high school basketball coach. In that context, the Doninger for Myers swap is totally logical, almost predictable.
It's hard to imagine Knight failing at Texas Tech. Why? Because he won't have to do much to top his predecessors. The Red Raiders have won just five NCAA tournament games in their history, and only one player has been picked in the first round of the NBA draft (Tony Battie in '97). You don't think Bobby Knight, one of the greatest college coaches of all time, can do better than that?
(Yeah, Texas Tech went 30-2 in '95-96 under James Dickey and made it to the Sweet 16 where it lost to Georgetown but the Red Raiders may well have cheated to do it. The following season they were hit with NCAA sanctions for using ineligible players.)
That's one of the things, undoubtedly, that makes Knight so attractive to the school. Say what you will about the guy, he has always been Mr. Clean when it comes to running a program. What passed for a scandal during his days at Indiana was Steve Alford posing in violation of NCAA rules, it turned out for a sorority calendar. Bobby's players went to class, got their degrees and became productive citizens (except for all the deadbeats who followed Knight into the coaching profession).
Texas Tech's image has taken a beating in recent years because of misbehavior in its athletic program. No fewer than six teams have been penalized by the NCAA (which discovered, among other crimes, that 76 Tech athletes competed ineligibly in the '90s). Men's basketball has had scholarships taken away each of the past four years; next season, though, it will have its full quota of 13.
Which explains Knight's presence at the national junior college tournament in Hutchinson, Kan. Tech has two signees competing, and Bobby is said to be looking at them and, perhaps, a third player. The Red Raiders also have a functional 6-foot-10 center coming back: Andy Ellis, who averaged 14.2 points and 7.4 rebounds this year. The name should be familiar to Knight; Ellis scored a career-high 30 points against Bobby's Indiana team last season.
One of the questions hanging over Knight, of course, is: Will his fearsome reputation scare away potential recruits? Not, it would appear, in the case of one of the top prospects in the state, 6-8, 242-pound Emeka Okafor of Houston. "Bob Knight established a great basketball tradition at Indiana," he told the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal, "and you can't help but turn your head when you hear his name. He has proven over the years that he's a great coach, and playing for him is something I have to think about seriously."
The other Big Question hanging over Knight is: Can he behave himself and stay in his employers' good graces. Alas, not even Bobby knows the answer to that, but Texas Tech seems prepared to take the gamble, anyway. Can't say I blame 'em. After all that has gone on in Lubbock lately, how much does the school really have to lose?


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