Based on all the talk I’ve heard from Tech alumni, and what I’ve seen in Texas media, Bobby Knight would be a VERY popular hire in Lubbock… for a little while, at least.
Right now, the standard line I hear from West Texans is that “Knight is a kick-ass disciplinarian, and he wins, and THAT’s what we want here. And besides, all those players who say he cusses or chokes them, well, they’re just a bunch of pampered prima donnas. Bring on Knight- HE’LL beat them Tea-sippers (the University of Texas Longhorns, if you’re not familiar with local slang), and that’s all that matters.”
So, Bobby Knight will be the most popular man in Lubbock history… for a LITTLE while, at least.
In the long run, I think it’s likely to be a disaster. At Indiana, Bobby Knight was omnipotent- he pushed around the ALUMNI! If he thinks he can do that in Texas, if he thinks he can scream or curse at rich oilmen and expect them to back down, he’s nuts.
Worst of all, Knight will have ZERO success in recruiting players in Texas. In Indiana, he was a legend, and midwestern high school players grew up DREAMING of playing at IU. NOBODY dreams of playing ANY sport at Texas Tech! I don’t say that to insult the city of Lubbock or the University- it’s just a statement of fact. Knight is NOT a legend in Texas… at least, not in a POSITIVE sense! He’s widely regarded as a first-class asshole. And while his drill-sergeant approach may be VERY appealing to consevrative, rich, white West Texans, it’s NOT going to appeal to inner-city black kids from Dallas or Houston. And THOSE are the kids Knight will need, if he’s to succeed.
Even if Knight DIDN’T have so much baggae, he’d have problems. He doesn’t have ANY contacts, connections, or ties to the Texas high schools where he’ll have to recruit, and he’s WAY too old to do the work it will take to develop those contacts.
Can Knight still motivate? Sure. So, here’s my basic prediction, IF he gets hired at Texas Tech.
He’ll light a fire under the current batch of underachieving players at Tech, and for ONE season, he’ll get them to play harder, as they SHOULD have all along. As a result, Tech will go 16-14 next year, and maybe make a strong showing in the NIT.
Tech will go 19-13 the following year, and get the 64th spot in the NCAA (then get slaughtered in the first round (as Knight’s teams invariably do). It will APPEAR, at least, that Knight is doing a good job, and that the team has shown major improvement. Thus, he’ll get a ten year, multi-million dollar extension.
In year 3, it will all fall apart. James Dickey’s recruits will mostly be gone, and the team will depend on players Knight himself has recruited. of lily-white boys from New Mexico and the Panhandle. They’ll stink to high heaven, and pile up huge, embarrassing losses. Knight will NEVER admit that any of it is his fault, and will begin insulting his players in the most obscene manner possible.
Finally, rich oilmen in the ALumni CLub will start butting in and making “suggestions.” Knight will flip them off. His ass will then be gone.