|School Name:||Texas Tech University|
|Arena:||United Spirit Arena|
|Head coach:||Billy Gillispie|
The Texas Tech Red Raiders men's basketball team represents Texas Tech University in Lubbock, Texas in NCAA Division I basketball competition. (The school's women's basketball team is known as the "Lady Raiders".) The Red Raiders, coached by Pat Knight, son of former Texas Tech coach and Hall of Famer Bob Knight, currently compete in the Big 12 Conference. The team last played in the NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Tournament in 2007.
Basketball came to Texas Tech only two years after the school was founded. The inaugural game was a 37–25 loss to Daniel Baker College. Tech would lose two more games before finally clinching their first ever victory—35–21 at Sul Ross University.
Grady Higginbotham was the first coach, earning a 14–18 record over two seasons. At .438, Higgenbotham was the only Tech basketball coach to garner an overall losing record during his stay. Following Higgenbotham's departure, Victor Payne led the Matadors (as the school's teams were known until 1936) from 1927 to 1930. His final tally stood at 32 wins and 20 losses. W. L. Golightly coached only one season, bringing in an 11–9 record. Dell Morgan held the head coaching job from 1931 to 1934, chalking up 42 wins to 29 losses. He was followed by Virgil Ballard. Though Ballard coached only a single season, it was during his time that the team won their milestone 100th game, a one-point victory over House of David. Ballard left with a 15–9 record.
1935-1971 Berl Huffman was twice the head basketball coach at Texas Tech—first from 1935 to 1942 and then from 1946 to 1947. During his total of eight seasons, he garnered a record of 121–67. Polk Robison was the only other person to serve two different times as the head basketball coach at the school. When Huffman left in 1942, Robison took the job. And, when Huffman left a second time in 1947, it was Robison who again filled the position, this time remaining until 1961. At a total of 18 seasons, his stay is the second longest of any Red Raiders basketball coach, behind Gerald Myers. He departed after leading his teams to 254 wins, 195 losses, and the first two NCAA tournaments in school history.
Gene Gibson followed Robison into the position. In his eight seasons, he chalked up the second worst record of any head basketball coach at Tech. Still, at 100–92, there were eight more wins than losses. Bob Bass led the program to a 22–15 record over a season-and-a-half before returning to professional basketball coaching duties.
Gerald Myers became coach of the Red Raiders mid-year during the 1970/71 season and stayed until 1991. His stay was the longest of any head basketball coach at Tech, and several milestones were passed during his tenure, including wins #600 (TCU), #700 (SMU), #800 (at SMU), and #900 (Texas A&M). With a Texas Tech career record of 326–261, Myers has more wins with the Red Raiders than any other men's basketball coach in school history. Myers led Tech to 16 winning seasons, two Southwest Conference championships, three SWC tournament titles, and four NCAA Tournament berths. Myers now serves as the school's athletic director.
James Dickey replaced Myers as head coach prior to the 1991/92 season and would remain at Texas Tech until his dismissal at the end of the 2000/01 season. During his 10 seasons at Texas Tech, Dickey amassed a 166–124 win-loss record (164–123 with vacated games omitted). The program also won its 1,000th game under Dickey—a 71–62 victory at UALR.
Dickey took over a Texas Tech program that had finished with a 13–45 combined record over Myers' final two years and led his first team to a winning season and fifth-place finish in Southwest Conference play, after having been picked to finish last in the conference. In his second year as head coach, the Red Raiders won the Southwest Conference tournament championship, the school's fourth, to secure the league's automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. Texas Tech finished the 1994/95 season with a 20–10 record, sharing the SWC regular season championship with Texas and earning a berth in the 1995 National Invitation Tournament. In the SWC's final season, Dickey's 1995-96 Red Raiders produced the most successful season in school history and one of the more memorable seasons in the history of the conference, finishing 30–2 overall and undefeated in conference play, winning both the SWC regular season championship and the conference tournament title, advancing to the "Sweet Sixteen" in the NCAA Tournament, and finishing #8 in the AP Poll and #10 in the Coaches' Poll.
The Raiders moved to the Big 12 for the 1996/97 season, and appeared to pick up right where they left off with a solid 19–9 season. It was discovered during the inaugural Big 12 basketball tournament, however, that two players were academically ineligible. Hours after the team's first-round game, Texas Tech announced that it was withdrawing from postseason consideration and forfeiting its entire conference schedule. The Raiders had lost that game, and would have had to forfeit it if they had won. A subsequent investigation revealed massive violations dating back to 1990 in men's basketball and nine other sports. As a result, the NCAA stripped Tech of its two NCAA tournament wins in 1996 and docked it nine scholarships over four years. Dickey was unable to recover from the lost scholarships and was fired after his 2000/01 team produced a 9–19 overall record—the program's fourth straight losing season.
2001–2008 (Bob Knight era)
Bob Knight served as the Texas Tech men's basketball head coach from 2001–2008.
Hired in March 2001 to replace James Dickey as head coach, Bob Knight quickly improved the program, which had not received a bid to the NCAA Tournament nor achieved a winning record since 1996. Knight led the Red Raiders to three NCAA Tournament appearances and one NIT appearance in his first four years at Texas Tech, including an appearance in the Sweet Sixteen in 2005. Texas Tech finished the 2005/06 season with a 15–17 overall record, marking the only time that Knight finished a complete season at Tech with a losing record and fewer than 21 wins. During the 2005-06 season, the ESPN reality TV show centering around Knight and the Red Raiders, Knight School, was filmed. The Red Raiders recovered in 2006/07, finishing 21–13 and again earning a bid to the NCAA Tournament, where they would lose to Boston College in the first round. In both 2006 and 2007, Knight's Texas Tech teams defeated two top 10-ranked teams in consecutive weeks. During Knight's first six years at Texas Tech, the Red Raiders won 126 games, an average of 21 wins per season.
On New Year's Day 2007, Texas Tech recorded a 70–68 defeat of New Mexico to give Knight his 880th career victory, making him the winningest coach in men's college basketball history.
On January 16, 2008, Knight registered his 900th career victory when the Red Raiders upset the ninth-ranked Texas A&M Aggies, 68–53. Knight won two more games as head coach—against Missouri and Oklahoma State—prior to announcing his retirement on February 4, 2008, after having led his 2007-08 team to a 12–8 mid-season record. His son Pat Knight, the head coach designate since 2005, was immediately named as his successor. The younger Knight stated that, after many years of coaching, his father was exhausted and ready to retire.
Bob Knight finished with an overall win-loss record of 138–82 at Texas Tech.
2008–present (Pat Knight era)
After assuming the heading coaching role midseason, Pat Knight's initial two games were defeats on the road. The first was an 80–74 loss to Baylor on February 6, 2008. The second came three days later at Nebraska. Knight's first head coaching win came at home when the Red Raiders upset #18 Kansas State, 84–75, at United Spirit Arena. Going into the game, KSU was in sole possession of first place in the Big 12. On March 1, 2008, the Red Raiders again defeated the top team in the conference by beating #5 Texas, 83–80, ending a month-long, eight-game winning streak for the Longhorns.
The Red Raiders finished the regular season with back-to-back losses, first at Kansas and then to Baylor. At the 2008 Big 12 Men's Basketball Tournament, they added another loss—to Oklahoma State—in the first round. The team did not receive an invitation to play at either the NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Championship or at the National Invitation Tournament. Texas Tech did get an invitation to the inaugural College Basketball Invitational, but declined the offer.
In the third game of the 2008–09 season, Tech defeated Division II opponent East Central University 167–115, setting a new school record for most points scored in a game. The previous record of 128 was set in the double overtime victory over Texas on February 20, 1994. The combined total of 282 points also became a new record.
The Red Raiders play their home games at United Spirit Arena located on the university campus. The Red Raiders previously played at Lubbock Municipal Coliseum until United Spirit Arena was constructed opened in 1999. The university's first team, then known as the Matadors, did not have a home court but instead played at the Livestock Judging Pavilion until a wood and stucco barn was constructed the following season.
Red Raiders in the NBA
Several Red Raiders have gone on to play in the NBA, including:
- Tony Battie
- Cory Carr
- Mark Anthony Davis
- Andre Emmett
- Darvin Ham
- Geoff Huston
- Paul Nolen
- Jason Sasser
- Jeff Taylor
- Ronald Ross
- Jarius Jackson