Bob Knight asked the question first, not us. It was November 1999, and Knight's Indiana Hoosiers had gone to Lubbock to open Texas Tech's United Spirit Arena with a game against the Red Raiders. Afterward Knight was asked if he would consider returning to Lubbock. Ever the diplomat, he offered to come back at the turn of the next century, then added: "What the hell do I need to come to Texas for?"
Well, Coach, what if you: 1) got fired at Indiana, 2) were only 117 wins shy of breaking Dean Smith's record of 879 college wins, 3) were prevented by your old contract with the Hoosiers from taking a job in the Big Ten or in the states of Indiana and Kentucky without giving up a hunk of cash, and 4) couldn't land at other top basketball schools because their athletic directors think you're more radioactive than Chernobyl?
Then you might be reduced to considering Texas Tech, which last week fired coach James Dickey (166-124 in 10 seasons) and began an all-out offensive to lure Knight. He was scheduled to meet with Red Raiders officials this week, evidently unconcerned that Tech finished with the worst record in the Big 12 this season. Or that men's basketball is a distant No. 3 at the school, behind football and women's basketball. Or that Lubbock's own Mac Davis sang, "Happiness is Lubbock, Texas, in rearview mirror."
Knight's interest in such a basketball outpost underscores how limited the Hall of Fanner's options are. How many athletic directors would want to hire Knight, who in a recent Playboy interview called his former boss at Indiana, Clarence Doninger, "the most incompetent and least trustworthy person I've ever met in athletics"? One athletic director at a Midwestern university told SI, "I wouldn't hire Bob Knight, and I know the man. How can you justify throwing chairs, choking Players and belittling-people? Most of my colleagues feel the same way, but for some people winning is so important that they'll look past that. Just look at Texas Tech."
Oh, the Red Raiders have a few things going for them. Athletic director Gerald Myers, a longtime Knight crony, wouldn't dream of getting in the General's way, nor would the small-market media. Texas Tech has a big arena and is in a major conference. What's more, the rural setting would allow Knight to hunt and fish as much as he pleased. Recruiting would be hard—most of the talent in Texas is in cities like Dallas and Houston, and Knight isn't a city recruiter—but not impossible.
Other opportunities may arise for Knight, perhaps at Florida State, UMass or even Seton Hall, if its coach, Tommy Amaker, leaves for Michigan. But if Knight wants to be sure of coaching next season, Texas Tech may be his best bet. Besides, he can take heart in one thing, at least: Texas Tech's arena is located on Indiana Avenue.