Not surprisingly, Texas Tech head coach Pat Knight was, "relieved of his duties," as head coach (RRS.com's Chris Level and LAJ). He will remain as the head coach through the Big 12 Tournament. [Note by Seth C, 03/07/11 11:11 AM CST ] UPDATE -- Per KCBD, here's a written statement
Texas Tech Will Relieve Pat Knight of Head Coaching Duties at Season's End
Texas Tech University President Guy Bailey announced Monday that Head Men's Basketball Coach Pat Knight will be relieved of his duties at the conclusion of the season.
"I felt like it was time to make a change within our men's basketball program," Bailey said. "I appreciate everything Pat has done for our university, not only as a head coach, but also throughout his career as an assistant. I wish him success and the best moving forward."
Knight will continue to coach the team through the Big 12 Conference Championships. A national search for the position will begin immediately.
For me personally, the move is not surprising, but the timing is surprising. There are other college basketball programs who have let their coaches go for the season, but the implication for me is that Texas Tech wants to get out in front of any other universities and start the head coach search as soon as possible. I mentioned earlier this morning that there were two articles this past week (here and here) that mentioned former Kentucky and Texas A&M head coach Billy Clyde Gillispie as a possibility. I don't think this was coincidence.
The other interesting item is that it was Guy Bailey letting Pat know that he was no longer going to be the head coach. Not the Chancellor and not the new athletic director, Kirby Hocutt. I don't think it would have been appropriate to ask Hocutt to make this move and I like the fact that Bailey is doing this. If I had to guess, Bailey and Hocutt are working in concert on this and the rumor was that the reason why the search for a new athletic director was sped up was for this very reason. For me, whether it's Bailey giving Pat the news or Hocutt, Pat's termination is on Texas Tech University. I get the feeling that a number of people wanted this to happen, no matter who was going to be named athletic director. I'm also guessing that part of the job description with the new AD was that he/she would need to find a new men's basketball coach. The new hire will be squarely on Hocutt, as it should be. It's time for Hocutt's first move.
I asked this question earlier this morning, but I'll ask it again. Obviously, Gillispie is the early favorite, but I'd love to know if there are some other names that we might want to consider as possible alternatives.