Texas Tech coach Pat Knight has been suspended for one game by the Big12 for critical comments he made about the officiating following Saturday’s 79-73 home loss to Texas A&M.
Knight will serve the suspension when the Red Raiders play Texas at 8:30 Wednesday night.
Knight was critical of the game officials during his postseason press conference. So the suspension came as no surprise.
Especially since the Big 12 handed Knight a public reprimand after he was ejected from a Jan. 31 home loss to Nebraska for twice running onto the court to confront the officials.
“I told my staff after the press conference that I’d probably be suspended for a game,’’ Knight said during Monday’s Big 12 conference call. “We have a protocol that you’re not allowed to say anything about the referees, and I broke that protocol during the press conference.
“So I’m not surprised, I broke a rule, and I know the rules. But sometimes you’ve got to lay on a grenade to get your point across.’’
Knight has been frustrated because he feels it appears as though his young squad is not getting the benefit of calls. So after the loss to A&M, Knight told reporters: “I don’t care right now what the Big 12 thinks. They tell us to send tapes in and that obviously doesn’t work. . .My kids bust their butt and they have enough of a time playing against A&M let alone have someone else they have to play against.
“I just think it’s a shame. Take nothing away from A&M, but we play at home and they get 50 free throws and I have, shoot, four guys that foul out. It’s just not right.’’
The Aggies were 30-of-55 from the line Saturday, while Tech was 16-of-22.
Knight said assistant coach Stew Robinson and associate head coach Chris Beard will primarily be the ones coaching the game against the Longhorns.
In his first full season coaching Tech, Knight said running onto the court against Nebraska was not a viable option against the Aggies.
“I’ve already gotten thrown out of one game,’’ Knight said. “I don’t want to do that again because you just look like an (expletive delete) really, when you get thrown out of a game, but sometimes you have to do it.’’
Knight said the way things were going in the A&M game, he consulted with his staff about how to get the referee’s attention.
“I asked (the staff), do I need to get thrown out of this game, and we decided it wasn’t best to do that twice,’’ Knight said. “I already made my point once doing it that way, so the only other way to make a point (and) to get it out there was to bring it up in the press conference knowing that you’re probably going to get fined or suspended.’’
Asked isn’t it easier for the refs to simply call what they see instead of making favorable calls for a coach they respect, Knight said: “It’s hard for me to answer that because I just don’t know what they’re thinking. You have to ask the officials that.
“I just know from my standpoint, in anything, when you’re a rookie you’ve got to earn the respect....I just think no matter what kind of work you’re in, the people who’ve been there and have the experience earn the respect.’’
Knight, who is following in the footsteps of his controversial father, Bob Knight, knows he has a ways to go before he can shed that rookie tag. And he insists he had no fire in his eyes when he criticized the officials on Saturday.
“I just talked about it, I didn’t raise my voice, I was calm,’’ Knight said. “I was asked questions and I just answered them.
“I knew there would be repercussions from it, but I’m willing to do it to get my point across. Now I’ve done it two ways you can do it.’’
-- Dwain Price