Pat Knight’s Texas Tech coaching career came to an end Wednesday night with an 88-84 loss to Missouri in the Big 12 Tournament. And at his outgoing press conference at the Sprint Center in Kansas City, Mo., Knight took the opportunity to stand up for an old friend. Sean Sutton.
Knight was fired earlier this week after 31/4 seasons as the Tech coach. He took over in February 2008 from his father, Bobby, after serving as his dad’s assistant since 2001.
Knight was asked if his situation was similar to Sutton –who was forced out at Oklahoma State after 21/4 seasons as head coach after replacing his dad, Eddie Sutton.
“It’s tough,” Pat Knight said. “I really think Sean got screwed. I didn’t. If I would have won … I’m in a little different situation.
“Now that I’m fired, I can talk about it. He got screwed. They didn’t give Sean enough time. And I think it’s a travesty how they treated Sean there. And I feel good I can say that now. I’ve had to be quiet about it. He’s one of my best friends. It was wrong what happened to him. But I’m in a different situation.”
Many people feel/felt the same way about Sean’s time at OSU, although when his prescription drug addiction came to light last spring, it made athletic director Mike Holder’s decision a little more palpable.
Sean said earlier this week he didn’t feel he got much support from Holder, who was not the athletic director when OSU agreed on the Eddie/Sean Sutton succession plan. But Sean did say he suffered from depression his final season in Stillwater.
I’ve always been a huge Sean fan, but I also supported Holder’s decision, because I didn’t think Sean was doing the job. But what comes to light now is the loyalty shown by Pat Knight.
“It’s tough to follow two guys like our dads,” Knight said.”But we talk about it. When they offer you a position, you can’t turn it down. We’re not the type of guys that go through life ‘I wish we could have’ or ‘maybe we should have done that.’
“They give you an opportunity to coach at two Big 12 places, you’ve got to take the opportunity. And it’s unfortunate we both ended up getting fired. But at least we tried.”
Knight said he has talked to his dad and that Bobby is “not as understanding as I am. But that’s between us, father/son stuff. It’s tough on him. I think it’s even more tough on him than it is on me right now.
“But I loved it there. It’s a great place. And whoever is the next coach there is going to be fortunate enough to get the job.”
Knight kept his good humor.
“If anybody’s looking for a house in Lubbock, Texas, I know seven of them that are available in varying sizes,” he said, referring to his staff. “Each of them have different bedrooms and different baths.”