Athletic director witnesses incident

Updated: February 4, 2004, 5:01 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

LUBBOCK, Texas -- Bob Knight's fiery temper has him in trouble again.

The Texas Tech coach got into a verbal spat with the university chancellor, David Smith, at a grocery store Monday, prompting a review by school officials.

One eyewitness told the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal that Knight raised his voice to Smith after the chancellor approached him at a salad bar to compliment the coach on his recent good behavior.

The witness told the paper that Knight flew into a rage and accused Smith of being a liar, saying that there had been nothing wrong with his demeanor this year.

Smith turned to leave the area, the Avalanche-Journal reported, but Knight followed. The chancellor then told Knight that he deserved more respect than Knight was showing him, according to the Avalanche-Journal.

The newspaper reports that no physical contact took place before Knight left the establishment after the confrontation, got in his car and pulled into traffic. According to the Avalanche-Journal, Knight stopped his car then and briefly got out before getting back in and driving away.

Smith said the matter was being handled internally.

"Right now, the athletic director and the president's office at the university are looking into the incident," Smith told The Associated Press. "We'll wait to hear more in the next few days about their review."

Asked whether there was any discussion of removing Knight, Smith told The Associated Press: "I can't comment on any of those things right now."

Knight was scheduled to be back on the sidelines Tuesday night when the Red Raiders (No. 18 ESPN/USA Today, No. 19 AP) play Baylor in Lubbock.

Gerald Myers, the university's athletic director who was instrumental in bringing Knight to Tech in 2001 after he was fired at Indiana, witnessed the encounter. Myers had accompanied Knight to the store, according to the Avalanche-Journal.

The encounter occurred when the men were getting food around lunchtime at Market Street, an upscale grocery store about two miles from the university, said Dan Sanders, chief marketing officer for United Supermarkets, which owns the store.

"Apparently, there was some sort of disagreement," Sanders said. "It took place very quickly."

Myers was unavailable for comment at his office Tuesday morning. Randy Farley, sports information director for basketball, referred all requests for comment to University President Jon Whitmore. Whitmore was not available for comment Tuesday morning.

While still at Indiana in March 2000, Knight was investigated by the university after former player Neil Reed said the coach choked him at a practice in 1997.

In May 2000, Knight was fined $30,000, suspended for three games and placed under a "zero-tolerance behavior policy.

In early September 2000, Knight was accused of grabbing a student by the arm, cursing and lecturing him about manners after the coach was addressed "Hey, Knight, what's up?"

Later that month, Knight was fired from Indiana for violating the behavior policy. Indiana's president Myles Brand, now president of the NCAA, fired him for what Brand called a "pattern of unacceptable behavior."

Less than six weeks ago, Knight went into a profanity-filled tirade during a sit-down interview after ESPN's Fran Fraschilla asked about his relationship with former player Steve Alford, who was also participating in the interview. Knight later apologized for the incident.

Texas Tech is 4-2 in the Big 12 this season. The Red Raiders had been unbeaten in the league until last week, when they lost to Texas and Oklahoma State.

Information from The Associated Press and the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal was used in this report.