|Pat Knight once thought he would not follow famous dad at Tech|
|Written by Admin|
|Monday, 11 February 2008 11:03|
But then he realized how much he loved Texas Tech. So the son of the winningest Division I coach in basketball history happily stepped right into Bob Knight's shoes last week when his father unexpectedly resigned.
``I never wanted to take over for my dad,'' the younger Knight said Monday, exactly one week after succeeding the elder Knight as the Red Raiders' head coach.
``But then it got to a point where I really liked living here in Lubbock and I really liked the people. I love the university and I think we can really keep building onto something special here.''
``I don't think I would have been able to live with myself if I'd taken a different route, maybe a safer route, try to go to a smaller school or work it that way. Really, I just thought 'What the heck, I love it here,''' he said.
``There's no sense uprooting myself, my wife, away from a place I like to live just because of circumstances - following my dad's footsteps, what are people going to say, pressure.''
The timing could have been better. His first two games were on the road, at Baylor and at Nebraska, which led to two losses and dropped Tech's record to 12-10 overall and 3-5 in the Big 12. He'll still be looking for his first win when No. 18 Kansas State and super freshman Michael Beasley come calling Wednesday night.
``I kind of got baptized by fire,'' he said. ``But the only bad thing is, I come off the road and now I've got to go face Michael Beasley. So it's still not getting any easier.''
One of Knight's closest friends is Oklahoma State coach Sean Sutton, who probably understands what he's going through as well as anyone in the world. The son of legendary coach Eddie Sutton, Sean was head coach-designate at Oklahoma State when his dad unexpectedly stepped down in February 2006.
Sutton doesn't think Bob Knight did Pat any favors by leaving during the season.
utton said. ``But ... he's stepping in with a really young team, going up against a pretty difficult schedule. All of a sudden, if he doesn't do as well, you wonder how the people are going to respond out there. I don't think it ever helps when something like that happens in the middle of a season.''
Sutton finished the season 5-6 after his father turned over the job to him.
``It was not the easiest thing by any means,'' he said. ``But Pat's got a lot of support. I'll continue to support him and do everything I can to help him.''
Knight said he plans to talk frequently with Sutton, and will not be bashful about making full use of his dad's advice.
``He's always going to be around, even if he's out of town. He's always going to be able to be around for me to contact,'' he said.
Pat Knight doubts his dad will ever coach again, but he's not absolutely certain.
``He was tired. He was really tired,'' he said. ``He was just worn out. I tell you, he looks better than he's looked in a long time. Relaxed. Feels good. I told him he's going to look better than me in about a week.
``But then again, it's a great mind sitting out there. Who knows? After a couple of years, maybe. But right now I don't see it because I know how miserable he was, and how bad he was feeling when he got out.''
Another Big 12 coach who followed his famous dad into coaching would advise Pat Knight not to pretend that there isn't any pressure.
``A lot of times sons follow dads in their chosen profession,'' said Baylor's Scott Drew, who took over for his father, Homer Drew, for one year at Valparaiso.
``You feel like you do have big shoes to fill and you don't want to let them down, or the fans down. So I know there is that pressure.''