Before Texas Tech even played its first game during the 2010-11 season, coach Pat Knight was refreshingly realistic about his job security.
"To me," the third-year coach said, "this is either a get-an-extension or a get-fired kind of year."
That preseason candor suggests Knight probably knew what was coming after the Red Raiders concluded a disappointing 13-18 regular season this weekend. Texas Tech president Guy Bailey fired Knight on Monday morning, though Knight will be allowed to coach his team in the Big 12 tournament this week.
It's too soon for a front runner to have emerged to replace Knight, but expect Billy Gillispie's name to be mentioned frequently during the Texas Tech search. The former Kentucky coach would be a logical candidate since he previously had success in the Lone Star State at Texas A&M.
Whereas critics of former Indiana and Texas Tech coach Bobby Knight always said that his bullying tactics weren't the right way to win, the younger Knight was almost the antithesis of his father. He won favor with his players and the media with his humble, straightforward, easygoing style, yet he just didn't win enough to satisfy the Texas Tech fan base.
In three years in Lubbock, Pat Knight's teams went 50-60 and failed to make the NCAA tournament, barring a miracle Big 12 run this week. By contrast, Bobby Knight went 138-82 in six-plus seasons at Texas Tech and took the Red Raiders to four NCAA tournaments.
The lack of success this season was especially damning for Knight because the senior-heavy Red Raiders appeared poised to make a run at an NCAA tournament berth entering the season. Instead frontcourt injuries and regression by senior stars John Roberson and Mike Singletary sent the Red Raiders tumbling to a tie for 10th in the Big 12, ahead of only rebuilding Iowa State.
Maybe the only hope for Knight by midseason was that Texas Tech was without an athletic director, so some thought the school's leadership void might buy him another year.
Once Texas Tech plucked Kirby Hocutt from Miami earlier this month to replace retiring athletic director Gerald Myers, Knight's fate was sealed.