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Archive for Friday, February 6, 2004

Memo gives Smith’s version of confrontation with Knight

February 6, 2004

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— Texas Tech Chancellor David Smith wrote in a memo about his encounter with coach Bob Knight at a grocery store that he only was attempting to compliment Knight before the basketball coach became angry, "charging up behind me furious with fists clenched."

Smith's version of events was detailed Thursday on the Web site of the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal, which obtained documents related to Monday's incident through an open records request. The newspaper also obtained a letter athletic director Gerald Myers wrote asking that Knight not be suspended and a draft of a letter Myers wrote to Knight reprimanding him and also informing him of a three-day suspension.

The issue was resolved Tuesday with Knight receiving a reprimand, but not a suspension.

The episode outlined in Smith's memo included a bizarre scene at an intersection with Knight leaving a car and dashing across a street as Myers yelled at him to return.

Knight said Tuesday night after his team's win over Baylor that he did not instigate Monday's encounter.

Smith writes that he initiated conversation with Knight in the store to compliment him.

"As I approached Mr. Knight I placed my hand on his shoulder, kidded him about eating healthy, and stated that 'most of us only hear the negatives, it is important that sometimes someone remembers to express the positives.'

"I expressed the same sentiment that I did with Gerald Myers, that despite some tough losses I especially wanted to commend him on how he handled the last few weeks and in particular the student section at the University of Texas game. His demeanor and habitus changed drastically. With a red face his response was curt and angry as he responded, 'I always handle things well, and have always handled things well.'"

Smith said in the document entitled "Memo to the File Re: A public incident with Coach Bob Knight" that it became clear that Knight's angry response was triggered by resentment over Smith's actions in an unrelated locker room episode last year related to the suspensions of Nick Valdez and Andre Emmett.

Smith said he was confused by Knight's agitation and tried to leave.

"Just steps past the checkout counter I turned to see Bob Knight charging up behind me furious with fists clenched and confronted me before I could leave the store," Smith wrote.

In the parking lot, Knight continued yelling at Smith, accusing him of calling him a "liar" in the incident last year, Smith said.

Myers, who was with Knight, attempted to pull the coach away, according to Smith.

Myers and Smith both have said they will not comment on the incident.

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