I read an article on ESPN by Jason King that got me thinking. Go and read it for yourself… click here and let me know your thoughts.
Here is what I immediately came away with after reading the story…
I’m going on my 3rd season writing about Texas Tech basketball on VTM, but I have been a fan following the team for 14 years. Every time I think the program is headed in an upward direction something inexplicably awful happens to halt the rise. The events that have taken place since the legendary Bobby Knight abruptly exited the head coaching responsibilities of the team are disheartening. It has led a downward spiral that many outside of our small fanbase haven't seemed to even pay any attention. Pat Knight took over for his father as head coach and it was evident that he wasn’t qualified for the position. He ran the program into a hole, all while his father would sit up in the highest shadows of the United Spirit Arena during our games. I’m sure Bobby Knight’s presence was felt in and around the program still, but probably not near as heavy as Pat Knight had to endure while being the head coach of a Big 12 school. Ultimately in the end Pat Knight was ran out of the program by disgruntle fans sick of losing.
In comes the volatile Billy Gillispie who was deemed by many fans to be the savior of our basketball program. Everyone witnessed the quick climb in the head coaching ranks that Gillisipie had previously ascended before his self imploding fall. Most fans were more than willing to give second chances to a seemingly changed person, and so did the Texas Tech basketball program. That ended up backfiring in one of the most bizarre episodes anyone could imagine after another miserable season. There were allegations of abuse from his players that shamed the program to his curious medical ailment that supposedly forced his resignation.
We were left with Chris Walker to come off our own coaching bench and be designated as our temporary head coach for a whole season. It was a difficult job to be thrown into that Walker handled quite admirably even if it did not translate in a surge of victories on the court. Most fans tipped their hats to the effort put forth by Walker for stepping in at the head of our program. He seemed to inspire hope throughout the Texas Tech fans and players. Buzzing began around the University that high profile recruits were showing increased interest to come play for Walker. But, it wasn’t enough for him to capture the reigns as permanent head coach of Texas Tech. A search began at the conclusion of another disappointing season for a team that struggled to win.Tubby Smith became available during our coaching search after Minnesota shoved him out of their front gates. I was already aboard the Chris Walker train and wanted to see our school keep the momentum that was generated over the last basketball season by Walker. I also desperately wanted to see stability set into our program and was not prepared for another drastic change. It became clear to me… that is why I cheer as a hobby for Texas Tech basketball, while important decisions are left up to the administration and officials that get paid to make the best possible choice for the University. Tubby Smith was introduced as the head basketball coach of Texas Tech.
The legendary Coach Smith starts his inaugural season at our school with an unprovoked disadvantage. He is now referred to as the savior of Texas Tech basketball. It is now his responsibility to sculpt the program into a respected team in the Big 12 conference. I thought Tubby Smith jumped at the first opportunity to make a few million dollars without realizing the struggle it was going to take to lift up our basketball program. I thought he was too old, too tired, and too non-“West Texan” to pick up the pieces of the scattered puzzle. It seems I was wrong. He has formed a terrific coaching staff that seem to look forward to the challenge. Coach Smith is one who is willing to roll up his sleeves and get his hands dirty. He is ready to take us for a ride. I am ready to strap in and let the adventure begin… it’s not about the destination or how rapidly we arrive I'm worried about anymore, it’s the experience along the way that I anticipate.