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Texas Tech is finally out of the Bob Knight shadow

UnknownFORT WORTH, Texas - Full disclosure: When Texas Tech hired Billy Gillispie as its men's basketball coach, I thought they had hit a monster home run; nailed that one.

Feel the same way about Tubby Smith. How he landed in their lap is because the current Red Raiders' administration deserved a good break after former AD Gerald Myers hired Bob Knight in 2001.

While hiring Knight did result in a few successful seasons, and a Sweet 16 in 2005, the way he left put Tech in an impossible situation. Knight was always a band-aid. But when Tech allowed Bob to name Pat his replacement it started this downfall that Tubby can make right. Bob naming Pat his successor was the most obvious abuse of power the man ever exercised in a career loaded with double-standards.

Had Tech not allowed Bob to give the job to his son, who was not ready for this job, it would not have triggered the fall off in recruiting that began under Bob Knight and has not stopped until Tubby came in and provided the type of positive stability required to win.

The Red Raiders are 10-8 and 2-3 in the Big 12. If somehow Tech sniffs .500 with this roster, build Tubby a statue.

460x"Four coaches in four years - just that alone makes it difficult," Smith told me recently in a phone interview. 

Tubby Smith does not have a good team yet, but at least he has a clue. He has been around, and he will make Tech a threat in the Big 12.

He is also not making excuses. When Bob was coaching Tech, he told long time friend, the late former UTEP coach Don Haskins he did not realize how difficult it would be to recruit players to Lubbock. He did not appreciate the distance from Lubbock to DFW, Houston and other major metropolitan areas.

"I do think it is a lot better now than when Coach (Bob) Knight was here as far as the growth in this region," Smith said not wanting to do the unthinkable - say anything remotely bad about the notoriously thin-skinned Bob Knight.

"The growth around here has been phenomenal. You can get a direct flight to anywhere, easily. We have been able to sign a kid from Florida and one from Dallas. A lot of it has to do with what we have to offer - we play in one of the toughest conferences in the nation. We play a big-time schedule. We will go to Maui, and Puerto Rico (for pre conference tournaments). And then you package that with Texas Tech, there is a lot happening here."

All of that is great, but kids sign not with schools or towns rather for the coach. Given his history at Tulsa, Georgia, Kentucky and Minnesota, they will sign with Tubby. And Tech will win with Tubby.

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blue and gold

Red Raiders are crazy lucky to have this guy. Great person. Great basketball guy. And he will do wonders for the program.


Good article, thanks for the mention.

If you want to know just how ill prepared Pat Knight was for the job at TTU, look at his record at Lamar. They are heading towards their worst season in history right now, and he is 4-45 the last two years! BCG, who we thought would be our savior, might never coach basketball again. Our interm coach last year Chris Walker doesn't have a job right now. If Tubby can sniff .500 in conference he might deserve raise not even a year into his contract.

Tech will never be the easiest school to recruit to, but the locals have shown they reward winning basketball with good crowds (look at Women's bball attendance) and we have a great arena. If Tubby can stick around for 4 years I see at least two tourney births.

Knight at Tech is still puzzling. He came here to get the wins record and to help his friend Gerald Myers, that is obvious. He never cared much about recruiting, and he handed the program to his inept son who cratered the program and undid everything his pop had accomplished.

However, Bobby still lives in Lubbock, speaks highly of Tech and Lubbock when given the chance, and gave quite a bit of his money back to Tech and the library in particular. Overall he left us better off, but not naming his son the HC would have left a much more favorable impression.

L Knight

Bob Knight gave Tech a reasonably good basketball high, and was good for the university. He surely thought that his son would make a good coach; but often children cannot mirror the success of parents. TT was fortunate to snag Tubby, who should restore basketball for the school. Bob Knight and Texas Tech both benefitted, somewhat, by their association.

Cecil Puentes

It has been A hard road for our men basketball program, but know coach T-Smith will get us to where we need to be.

it has been a tough road for our men's basketball program. I be leave that we have the right man in place. Our team is doing the best it can with the men we have. I say that in two years, look out Big 12. Here come the Red Raiders.

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