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AD who brought Knight to Texas Tech is retiring

AD who brought Knight to Texas Tech is retiring

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Associated Press

LUBBOCK -- Texas Tech athletics director Gerald Myers, who brought Hall of Famer Bob Knight to the West Texas campus and got caught up in the contentious final year of football coach Mike Leach's tenure, is retiring.

The school said Thursday the former Red Raiders basketball coach will step down in May.

"Together we have accomplished a lot since the Big 12 started in the fall of 1996 and it has truly been a team effort," Myers said. "I feel like now is the time to turn this job over to someone else and I will be supportive of that person in every way that I can."

The 74-year-old Myers told The Associated Press he chose the timeline for his retirement and wanted to stay for another year to be with Tommy Tuberville in his first season as football coach. He also said the other consideration was the reconfigured Big 12, which will soon lose Nebraska and Colorado.

"I thought it was not a good to change ADs with all the scheduling and rebranding and revenue sharing and all the new issues that we'll face with 10 teams," he said.

Texas Tech won two Southwest Conference titles and went to four NCAA tournaments in Myers' 20 years as coach, but he put the program on the national map by hiring Knight 11 years after he left the bench.

Knight led the Red Raiders to 20-plus wins his first four seasons -- a first at the school -- and four NCAA tournaments in six years, including a round of 16 appearance in 2005.

On Jan. 1, 2007, Knight got win No. 880 on Texas Tech's home court to surpass former North Carolina coach Dean Smith as the winningest Division I men's coach. He resigned in midseason in February 2008 with 902 wins.

Myers became athletic director in 1996, four years before he hired Leach in hopes that a pass-happy offense would bring life to a football program that had grown stagnant under Spike Dykes.

Leach's fan-friendly persona and high-scoring offense did the trick, culminating in the school's highest-ever national ranking at No. 2 in 2008 before a loss to Oklahoma derailed Tech's championship hopes.

Messy contract negotiations, including testy e-mail exchanges between Myers and Leach's representatives, became public knowledge the following offseason. Leach was fired late last season after he was accused of mistreating a player with a concussion. Leach denied the allegations and has sued the university.

Myers recalled how he was fired as basketball coach in 1991 and was working as an administrator in the athletic department in 1993 when Marsha Sharp led her Lady Raiders basketball team to the university's lone national title.

Myers said he always had coaching in his blood.

"I never intended to be an AD. I intended to be a coach," Myers said. "I thought I would be one forever."

He has come to view the job differently after 14 years at the helm.

"Looking back on it it's just as rewarding and gratifying as coaching," Myers said. "In this job something's going to come up about every week. If you have a week and nothing happens, that's unusual."

Guy Bailey, the university's president, said in a statement that Myers will always be a part of the Texas Tech family.

"He is well respected by his peers throughout the Big 12 Conference and across the country, and has represented Texas Tech well," he said.

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