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Texas Tech faculty voice Knight fears

LUBBOCK, Texas — Before Texas Tech officials decide whether to make an offer to Bob Knight, dozens of faculty members want to make their opinions known.

At least 58 faculty members have added their names to a petition against hiring the fired Indiana coach in advance of his three-day visit to the campus, beginning Thursday afternoon.

Asked about the petition Wednesday night on Bob Costas' "On the Record" show on HBO, Knight said it was the first he'd heard of it.

"I'm not sure I know a single person or have ever met a single person on the Texas Tech faculty," he said. "And I would certainly, if I coached there, reserve judgment about the faculty until I meet them."

A few hours earlier, associate professor of philosophy Walter Schaller turned in the petition at Tech president David Schmidly's office. University spokeswoman Cincy Rugeley said Schmidly was out of town on Wednesday and had not seen the petition.

However, she said, "he has emphasized that faculty opinion certainly would be taken into consideration."

In the 2,000-plus-word e-mail, Schaller argues that Knight's ability to build a clean and winning program should not outweigh his repeated misconduct.

"Having Mr. Knight as the basketball coach at Texas Tech would bring much negative publicity and damage our reputation in ways that are completely unnecessary," Schaller wrote. "At a minimum, the announcement of his hiring would be accompanied by the film clip in which he throws a chair across the basketball court, except this time the name of Texas Tech would be attached to such antics."

Earlier in the day, athletic director Gerald Myers said he was not aware of the petition.

Knight, a Hall of Fame coach who led Indiana to three national championships, was invited to visit the campus by Myers, a longtime friend. He planned to address the media at an early evening news conference but will not take questions.

Whether he ends up succeeding James Dickey, fired last week after Tech's fourth straight losing season, "depends on how they feel and how I feel about the things that we talk about," Knight told Costas.