Pat Knight was a free agent in 2011. He had taken over for his father, Bob Knight, at Texas Tech in 2008 after the Hall of Famer retired. But after three-and-a-half seasons at the helm in Lubbock, the Red Raiders released the younger Knight.
Following a 13-17 campaign and a second below-.500 season in a row, Lamar fired men’s basketball head coach Steve Roccaforte in 2011 after five seasons and a 76-78 overall record.
The Cardinals turned to 40-year-old Pat Knight to put the pieces back together.
It has been nine years since Lamar brought Knight from West Texas to East Texas and into the fold, and we can look back and reflect on the attitudes and reactions at the time of the hire as we go a decade back.
Reactions to Lamar Hiring Pat Knight
“Pat Knight is getting a fresh start at Lamar.
The son of Hall of Famer Bob Knight was introduced as the new coach of the Cardinals on Tuesday, less than a month after he was fired by Texas Tech.” – Associated Press
“Texas Tech fired Knight after he went 50-61 in three disappointing season.
Knight became a Division I head coach for the first time in February 2008, when he took over the Red Raiders from his father, the all-time winningest coach in Division I history.” – WTHR.com
“The Beaumont Enterprise reported Monday that Knight had been seen on campus with athletic director Larry Tidwell. He beat out more than 50 applicants and seven other top candidates.” – LubbockOnline.com
“Knight couldn’t guide Texas Tech to the NCAA tournament. The Red Raiders went 19-16 in 2009-10 and advanced to the quarterfinals of the NIT.
The Red Raiders made four trips to the NCAA tournament under Bob Knight, including a run to the regional semifinals in 2005.
Knight played for his father at Indiana from 1991-1995 and later worked as a scout for the Phoenix Suns. He was an assistant for the CBA’s Connecticut Pride and was a coach in both the International Basketball Association and the U.S. Basketball League. He joined his father’s staff at Texas Tech in 2001.” – Associated Press
“Pat Knight always knew when his father arrived to watch his high school basketball games.
‘Everybody was turned around, looking at him,’ Knight said.
Even as the leading scorer for Bloomington (Ind.) North High School, Knight took little attention away from his famous father, legendary college basketball coach Bob Knight.
And no matter how many games the younger Knight, 40, wins at Lamar University, there’s a good chance he’ll remain known as the son of the coach with the most wins in college basketball history – 902.
‘It’s like you have a ghost coaching over you,’ Knight said.
‘You want to prove yourself. But it’s good. To me, it’s motivation. It doesn’t bother me when people compare. I’m proud of who I am.'” – Christopher Dabe, Beaumont Enterprise
“I did get into this business, not for fame, not for fortune. I got in this business to start my own program, to run my own program, to build a program that people will be proud of, and I have an opportunity to do that here at Lamar.” – Pat Knight
“Knight knows he has something tor (sic) prove. He coached Texas Tech to a 50-61 record over three-plus seasons. He had the job only after his father stepped down in February 2008, allowing the younger Knight to be promoted from assistant to head coach.
In Knight’s 13 years as a college coach, nine have been with his father, the first two at Indiana and the other seven at Tech. This is Knight’s time to step out from his father’s shadow.
‘I still have to prove myself,’ Knight said.” – Dabe
“It’s an opportunity to build my own program and hopefully establish my own legacy in college basketball.” – Pat Knight
“While working for his father at Texas Tech, Pat Knight kept an eye on Lamar and wrote a letter to then-athletics director Billy Tubbs, the former Oklahoma coach. When the Lamar job came open, Knight immediately asked his agent to help him pursue the opening.
‘Growing up in Indiana, Butler was a school, Ball State was a school that were great jobs,’ Knight said. ‘When we got down to Texas, everyone talked about Lamar. It appealed to me as one of those jobs, like a Butler or a Ball State.'” – Associated Press
“The younger Knight plans to incorporate his father into some of what takes place around the Lamar basketball program. He envisions a fund-raiser that lets donors ‘spent a night with Billy and Bob,’ the younger Knight said in reference to Billy Tubbs and Bob Knight.
The younger Knight’s famous father will also attend a game or two. On those nights, Pat Knight will be sure to know where in the Montagne Center his father is seated.
All eyes will be focused on him, just like in high school.” – Dape
For the level of job, Pat Knight is a strong hire. He’ll bring name recognition to the Lamar program, which might even help if they school upgrades it’s (sic) football program and joins the WAC. There are a number of assistant and lower level coaches that could have been good fits though. Scott Monarch of Marquette comes to mind, as well as Matt Cross, the head coach at Lamar St.-Port Arthur. Knight will likely improve the program though and with that, it was a successful hire.” – Matt Peloquin, CollegeSportsInfo.com
“I’d have been smart if I’d just played baseball and never got into coaching. The two things I’m most proud of that I’ve done: I went to Indiana and played at Indiana, for my dad. And I took over for him here. So people can write and say whatever they want about me, but the one thing they can’t say is that I ever took the safe or easy way out.” – Pat Knight
“Texas Tech is a tough job – certainly one of the worst in the Big 12. Now Bob Knight’s son gets a chance at a pretty good job in the Southland – one in which he should be able to compete for league championships. I’m a self-admitted fan of the younger Knight, and think he’ll be better suited to the mid-major level.” – FoxSports.com
“I’m a blue-collar guy. I want to be around guys with maybe a chip on their shoulder, who think they should have gone to a bigger school and are kind of being the underdog.” – Pat Knight
“I look forward to being the coach here for a long time. I want to build something here. Coach Tubbs ruined it, he already got the court named after him. So I’m going to have to shoot for a street or a building maybe.” – Pat Knight