Sunday, February 16, 2014
Lamar fires basketball coach Pat Knight
After compiling a 6-50 record the last two seasons, Pat Knight was fired as Lamar men's basketball coach Sunday with five games left in his third year at the helm.
Former Lamar assistant coach, Tic Price, will serve as the interim head coach for the remainder of the season.
ESPN reporter Andy Katz first reported Knight's firing.
"I was told last night to meet with the president and the AD this morning at 10 a.m.," Knight told Katz. "I knew it. There's no talk. They said they want to go in a different direction. We struggled for two years. It's all based on the record. It's part of the business."
Bill Tubbs, the program's former athletic director, coach and the namesake of Lamar's basketball court, learned the news Sunday afternoon while in California.
"I think the program has been very disappointing the last two years," Tubbs said. "Coach Knight did a great job that first year he was here. Lamar has really had a great tradition in basketball, it is known throughout the nation as a sound basketball program year-in and year-out."
Knight went 25-11 in his first year at Lamar, advancing to the NCAA Tournament.
"I did what I wanted to do," Knight told Katz. "I coached a team in the NIT [at Texas Tech] and I coached a team in the NCAA. I wanted to prove I could do this for my last name. I should have gotten out after the NCAA. But you're sitting there and have a chance to build a team from scratch. You decide to do it and didn't get it done quick enough. So you get fired. That's it. I have no regrets. I'm proud of what I did. I should have done it. You feel loyal to a place after you're fired from a place. We lost eight out of our top 10. We tried it and didn't work."
Knight disputed claims his job was in danger after Thursday's loss to Stephen F. Austin.
"No, I haven't heard anything, but if they want to do that, you know, I guess I'll be down in Florida.…I'm not playing for my job," Knight said in the press conference Thursday. "I've said it before, if they want to fire me, that's not up to me. We're in this business to get fired. But that's news to me. I don't coach thinking my job is on the line. I'm trying to build a program here. We just went to the tournament two years ago and then we started from scratch. It takes more than two years to get things going. But it is what it is. I appreciate you letting me know that. That's the first that I've been told."
Knight finishes with a 29-62 record at Lamar.
"It's always disappointing whenever anyone gets fired, but you always want your program to be strong and win games," Tubbs said. "Winning games is what it's all about."
It's a setback for the younger Knight, but I'm sure he'll wind up as an assistant on some team's sideline in the near future.