Coach Knight Turns Down Paycheck

Bob Knight at his introduction as Texas Tech's new basketball coach March 23. AP

Bob Knight's income tax return next year is bound to look a little odd.

He told Texas Tech to keep his salary — all $250,000 of it — because he didn't do a very good job, and neither did his team.

"I'm just not at all satisfied with what transpired with our team in terms of our fundamental execution. I don't think it's anybody's fault but mine," the Red Raiders coach told The Dallas Morning News for Tuesday's editions.

"He has standards," men's basketball spokesman Randy Farley said Monday. "He just didn't meet his standards, and so he said, 'I don't think I should be paid for that."'

Texas Tech athletic director Gerald Myers said it has not yet been determined what will be done with the money.

Myers said Knight told him about the decision Saturday after the Red Raiders lost to Baylor 74-68. The two spoke in the locker room, but Knight didn't announce his decision until Monday.

"I just feel like I had a product, and it broke," Knight said. "You shouldn't have to pay for it."

The Red Raiders (16-11) were 10-1 before Big 12 play began, but faltered the second half of the regular season, going only 6-10 against league opponents, including a 2-8 record in games decided by nine or fewer points.

"You heard me talk after games all season long about missed opportunities and how we didn't see things," Knight said. "Those are things that have got to be taught. Learning those things is just as much a responsibility of the teacher as the ones learning those things."

Knight also turned down his salary last season, for a different reason. Citing his gratitude for his hiring, Knight accepted only the $15,000 needed to qualify for Tech benefits after offering to work for free.

His five-year contract is worth $4.5 million. He makes $250,000 in base pay, $150,000 in deferred annual income and $500,000 in guaranteed outside income through May 2006.

"I can remember talking to Ted Williams about this," Knight said. "Ted Williams not only turned down a raise but demanded a cut after one year in which he didn't play particularly well. He and I had a long talk about that and why he felt that way."

Myers said he tried to talk Knight out of the move Monday but that Knight was set in his decision. Only the base salary will be forfeited, Myers said.

"He's too hard on himself," Myers said. "He's done a great job these last two years, all the things he's done for this program, this university. There's no question that he earns his salary and more every day."

This season's disappointments came after the Red Raiders finished 23-9 in Knight's first season a year ago and reached the NCAA tournament. Before Knight's arrival in March 2001, Texas Tech hadn't had a winning season in four years.

The Baylor loss was an especially tough one for Tech. The Red Raiders came back from a 16-point second-half deficit only to lose by six. Tough home losses to Oklahoma, Texas and Kansas preceded the Baylor game. Those losses dashed Tech's hopes for making the NCAA Tournament with an at-large bid.

Texas Tech, seeded seventh in this week's Big 12 tournament in Dallas, opens play with a 6 p.m. first-round game Thursday against Baylor. Unless Texas Tech wins the tournament, the Raiders likely will play in the National Invitation Tournament on Monday or Tuesday in Lubbock.

This year could be Knight's first without 20 wins since 1995, when Indiana went 19-12.

In his 29 years at Indiana, Knight won three NCAA national championships and had just seven seasons in which his teams failed to win 20 games.

  • John Esterbrook

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