Texas Tech player, AD defend Knight's actions

Updated: November 16, 2006, 1:22 AM ET
Associated Press

LUBBOCK, Texas -- Texas Tech athletic director Gerald Myers insisted Tuesday that Bob Knight did nothing wrong when he "quickly lifted" the chin of Michael Prince in the latest clash between the hot-tempered coach and a player.

Prince and his parents also defended Knight, who confronted the forward and pushed his chin upward, as if to make him look the coach in the eye, during a timeout late in the Red Raiders' 86-74 victory against Gardner-Webb on Monday night.

"Coach Knight did not slap Michael," Myers said in a statement. "Michael came off the court with his head down and Coach Knight quickly lifted Michael's chin and said, 'Hold your head up and don't worry about your mistakes. Just play the game.'"

Knight, with a history of chair-throwing, referee baiting and run-ins with school officials, was not available for comment Tuesday.

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Prince told the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal after Monday's game that what happened with the coach "was nothing."

"He was trying to teach me and I had my head down, so he raised my chin up," said Prince, who was seen moving his jaw around as he sat on the bench after the confrontation. "He was telling me to go out there and don't be afraid to make mistakes. He said I was being too hard on myself."

Prince's mother, Suzette Prince, told the Avalanche-Journal she and her husband, Mike, were sitting across from the Tech bench and she doesn't feel this should be an issue.

"We talked with Michael and he had just committed two fouls in a row," Suzette Prince said. "He told us that Coach Knight was asking him if he's ready to play. He said they needed him ready to play."

She said she didn't think Knight should be reprimanded.

Knight gave a brief statement at the postgame news conference and then answered one question before exiting the room, but the episode with Prince was never addressed.

It was win No. 871 for Knight, who is five shy of tying Adolph Rupp for second place on the career list. He needs nine more victories to surpass Dean Smith for the most victories in Division I history.

Knight's career has featured three national championships, all at Indiana, but plenty of outbursts.

In 1992, Knight kicked a chair on the bench while son Pat, then a player for him at Indiana and now his assistant and successor-to-be at Texas Tech, was sitting in it. When fans behind the team bench booed, Knight turned and responded with an obscenity.

He was accused of grabbing a player by the throat during a practice in 1997, an episode that was caught on videotape and created the whirlwind that eventually led to his firing from Indiana in September 2000.

Knight was fired for what Indiana officials called a violation of a zero-tolerance behavior policy shortly after he grabbed the arm of a student who greeted him on campus by saying "Hey, Knight, what's up?"

His most infamous moment came in a game against Purdue in 1985, when he threw a chair across the court after being assessed a technical foul.


Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press