PAT WAS NOT HIS FATHER
There are a lot of things that you can say about Pat Knight. It has become abundantly clear that just about everyone says that PK was a terrific guy and he's one of the good guys in college basketball. I've said it again and again. Pat Knight has never cheated. He did not succumb to the AAU game and hire AAU coaches in order to sign players. Pat Knight, as far as I know, graduated players and he also kept his word in regards to keeping a player's scholarship until the player graduates. He is a good guy.
"He'll survive," Martin said. "Pat is one of the good guys in this business. He does his job the right way, and it's ... we all understand what we get into when we sign up for this job. When good guys get let go, it's something I don't enjoy seeing."
Missouri coach Mike Anderson on PK:
"Obviously, he followed a legend, when you talk about Bob Knight, and that’s kind of hard to do," MU Coach Mike Anderson said. "But at the same time, Pat was himself, and that’s one thing I applaud Pat about. He was true to who he was."
And even after PK was fired, he was gracious and offered an interview with KLBK, KCBD and Fox34. And DT's Jon Arnold writes that it was Pat Knight that sought out Texas Tech President, Guy Bailey, for clarification on where he and his staff stood going into the Big 12 Tournament:
It’s pretty obvious Tech won’t be in the Big Dance so out the door Knight goes. He’s been expecting this for a while, as have the majority of Tech fans.
The timing of the coach’s firing, though, raised more than a few eyebrows.
The story goes that Knight wanted to meet with president Guy Bailey on Monday, before the conference tournament, so he would know where he and his staff stood.
Good on both parties for stepping up and making their positions clear. Knight wanted to see if his guys would have jobs and Bailey, instead of stalling and trying to find a better time, fired Knight.
Arnold is right. Bailey could have hemmed and hawed about where things stood, but he was honest with PK and let it be known that PK's services would no longer be needed after the season. There's something good about how this went down and that gives me some comfort in all of this. PK handled this with whole situation with a good amount of class in what could have been a difficult situation. He obviously doesn't have to coach the team in the Big 12 Tournament and he could leave this team high and dry, but that's not Pat. He may not be the most polished speaker, but he's not going to leave you high and dry. He probably felt like he owed it to the players to finish this thing out.
Per LAJ's Courtney Linehan, PK wasn't available for yesterday's Big 12 coaches press conference (because he was meeting with Bailey) and assistant coach Chris Beard said that the staff would finish this out:
"Even though it’s been made public that we won’t be the coaches next year we’re still the coaches this year," Beard said. "I know Pat will do everything in his power to have the team prepared, I know we’ll try to keep things as normal as we can under the circumstances."
Hell, he even did his own radio show last night, per DMN's Mike Graham:
"It really is the final edition," Knight chimed in, chuckling.
Knight was then asked to describe the emotions he was experiencing and Knight set a graceful precedent for the rest of the show.
"There's a lot of highs and lows," Knight said on the show. "(Mostly) it's a relief. You know that it's hanging out there and you've got a chance to be let go so you finally find out and get it out there in the open. It's really a relief for myself and my staff. It's out there and you don't have to mess around with the media writing articles.
"It's just bad when your wife has to read that stuff and your assistants kids, your players have to read that. Now it's out there and everyone can relax and we can just kind of enjoy this last go around in the Big 12 Tournament."
The only thing that bothers me about this is that the current AD Gerald Myers didn't do what he should have done. AAS's Kirk Bohls tweeted, "Pat Knight's firing was TT prez Guy Bailey's call. Outgoing AD Gerald Myers, who hired Bob Knight, tried to save Pat.". I don't know if anyone else noticed this, but when Kirby Hocutt was hired, Gerald Myers was not in attendance at the Hocutt press conference. For whatever reason, maybe Pat knew that Myers wasn't going to be honest with him, which is why he sought out Bailey. I'm not sure what to think about this, other than it's is the strangest part about Pat's termination was that Myers isn't really anywhere to be found.
One other strange note. SportsByBrooks writes that Pat contacted UT-Arlington about their head coaching position despite the fact that they have a head coach. This is a strange note and it's not necessarily confirmed on the record, so just take it with a grain of salt. I'll let you chew on that.
The LAJ has an extensive list of coaching candidates. The list begins and ends with former Kentucky and Texas A&M head coach Billy Gillispie. Just about every outlet, including ESPN's Andy Katz and ESPN's Eamonn Brennan, write that Gillispie is the candidate where this coaching search starts. FWST's Mike Jones writes that if it's not going to be Gillispie, then Texas Tech must hire a head coach with Texas ties and I think that this is absolutely true:
I’ve been told that there are some financially heavy Tech people who are going to lobby on Gillispie’s behalf. Multi-million-dollar-type heavy. The question is whether or not they have the clout they think they do.
Here’s another name to consider. Try Nebraska coach Doc Sadler on for size. He can coach. He can recruit. He does more with less. He was the behind-the-scenes ace on the James Dickey staff at Tech who found guys like Tony Battie, Corey Carr, Darvin Hamm, et. al.
So, Gillispie is in the lead and it appears that a lot of people are throwing out Sadler's name as well. With that caveat, there are a lot of names to consider in the LAJ list: Gillispie, Sadler, Marquette head coach Buzz Williams, Wichita St. head coach Gregg Marshall, Kansas assistant Joe Dooley, Marquette assistant Tony Benford, former Texas and Houston head coach Tom Penders, Utah Valley's Dick Hunsaker, Akron head coach Keith Dambrot, South Plains College head coach Steve Green and Midwestern St. head coach Grant McCasland. I would also ask that no one mention Butler's Brad Stevens. Stevens is a terrific coach, but he's not leaving Butler to coach at Texas Tech. This is a pipe dream and I think I'd also throw Buzz Williams into that category as well. I think the Butler and Marquette jobs are better basketball jobs than Texas Tech.
I'll let the lot of you figure out who these people are and if any of those names, other than Gillispie excite you.