Feb. 3, 2004
It has been widely reported that there was a verbal battle between Texas Tech coach Bob Knight and chancellor David Smith at a grocery store close to campus. There have been conflicting reports about what exactly was said and who provoked the situation.
I've learned from sources close to Knight that the coach felt that in the course of the conversation, his integrity was being questioned. If there's one thing that will make Knight go ballistic, it's when his integrity is being challenged.
Texas Tech's office of the president reviewed the facts of the incident and decided the events did not warrant a suspension.
I was told that there was no physical contact or altercation and no profanity exchanged.
I was also told that the chancellor informed athletic director Gerald Myers that he wanted Knight suspended for five days for the incident. But later on Tuesday, Knight was relieved to hear that Texas Tech's office of the president reviewed the facts of the incident and decided the events did not warrant a suspension. Knight will coach the home game against Baylor Tuesday evening.
The bottom line is that Knight loves coaching at Texas Tech. He enjoys his relationship with Myers and has never been happier being in an environment where he loves the kids, loves winning and loves the opportunity to build a program from the bottom up.
Remember, on the sidelines he has been sensational at Texas Tech. The Red Raiders' program was on the bottom when he arrived.
If having a disagreement with the administration means another suspension in the future, you can be sure Knight will avoid conflict.
There's no doubt that Knight must avoid placing himself in situations that lead to confrontations. That has been a recurring story off the court throughout his career. Sadly, it has taken away from all the good he does between the lines.
I believe Knight wants to continue to work as hard as ever to build the Red Raiders into a first-class basketball program where players learn the game as well as academics.
Dick Vitale coached the Detroit Pistons and the University of Detroit in the 1970s before providing color commentary for ESPN's first college basketball game in 1979. He's been an analyst for ESPN ever since. Send a question for Vitale for possible use on ESPNEWS.