, Port Arthur, Texas


February 16, 2014

Lamar fires basketball coach Pat Knight

PORT ARTHUR — BEAUMONT — With losses mounting, attendance sagging and apathy toward the Lamar University basketball program in the danger zone, Lamar University’s first year president Dr. Ken Evans pulled the plug on head coach Pat Knight Sunday afternoon.

    Though five games remain in Knight’s third season, Evans felt nothing positive would emerge from letting the son of Hall of Fame coach Bob Knight play out the string. Evans named Tic Price, a former head coach at New Orleans, Memphis and McNeese State, to finish the season as interim head coach, with a promise to consider him for a full-time gig.

    Knight, with players recruited by his predecessor Steve Roccaforte, won the Southland Conference tournament and its automatic NCAA bid in his first season. LU basketball has been a disaster ever since, with the Cardinals going 6-50 overall and 3-27 in the Southland Conference. They are 3-22 this year, after setting a school record for losses en route to a 3-28 record in 2012-13.

    Knight’s overall record at LU was 29-62. Included in the lowlights was a stretch of 15 consecutive losses at the Montagne Center and 13 straight SLC setbacks. ESPN  has the Cardinals ranked No. 345 out of 351 Division 1 teams.

    The decision to terminate Knight is a costly one, with Lamar owing roughly $400,000 on a contract than runs through April of 2016 at $200,000 per year. He was given a $50,000 raise and had the contract extended for a year, after getting Lamar into the NCAA tournament.

    “We appreciate Coach Knight’s contribution at Lamar and wish him the best,” said Evans, who informed Knight Sunday morning that he was being terminated. A formal announcement was not made until 2 p.m. and ESPN, where Knight’s father is employed as a game analyst, wound up breaking the news an hour earlier.

    “I was told last night to meet with the president and the AD this morning at 10 a.m., Knight told ESPN’s Andy Katz. “I knew it. There’s no talk. They said they wanted to go a different direction. We’ve struggled for two years. It’s all based on record.

    “I did what I wanted to do. I coached a team in the NIT (at Texas Tech) and I coached a team in the NCAA. I should have  gotten out after the NCAA.”

    Evans said he told Knight Sunday morning than he would give him until 2 p.m. to break the word to Lamar players  and members of his coaching staff. He wouldn’t specify the exact dollars on the buyout, but acknowledged that $400,000 was “in the ballpark.”

    Price, who had a 167-122 record at UNO, Memphis and McNeese State, said he was stepping into a tough situation but one that he doesn’t see as hopeless. Plus coaching is still in his blood.

    “I’m a basketball coach by nature,” Price said.  “When Dr. Evans approached me, it was bittersweet because I hate to see anybody lose their job. I’m sorry this has happened. But the chance to coach again appealed to me and I embrace the opportunity. I want to see if I can help this team finish strong.”

    Price, who has been Lamar’s interim assistant vice president for student engagement, and prior to that worked with athletic director Jason Henderson,  said he would very much like to become the Cardinals head coach on a full-time basis.

    “Definitely, I want to be strongly considered,” he said.  “I’m leaving a position that I immensely enjoy. For me, it’s always about making a difference with young people. I sincerely appreciate Dr. Evans giving me the opportunity and trust. They will get my very best and my all.”

    Price said he thinks there is enough talent on the Lamar team to win some of the five remaining games.

    “The biggest problem is these players are mentally fragile. They are not having a good year and they just lost their coach. I met with them this afternoon and am looking forward to practice on Monday. I can’t change a lot at this point in the season, but we can tweak a few things.

    “What I’m going to have to figure out quickly is this team’s basketball IQ and its learning curve. How much new stuff I can add will be determined on the overall IQ and the ability to learn on the fly. We’ll certainly tweak a few things to give other teams something to think about.”

    Price’s first game as interim head coach will be Saturday night against Sam Houston State in the Montagne Center. Lamar dropped an 84-70 decision at Sam Houston State on Feb. 8.


Text Only
  • Trophy stab 1.jpg WEST COLUMN: Bum Phillips trophy an impressive piece of work

    There was lots of excitement around the Port Arthur News this week, with the long-awaited delivery of the magnificent Bum Phillips trophy that will be presented annually to the winner of the Nederland-Port Neches-Groves football game.

    July 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • Ned 13U Babe Ruth wins

    It was a much better day Saturday for the Nederland 13U Babe Ruth team compared to Friday.

    July 26, 2014

  • MOORE COLUMN: Flounder dream started in Bridge City

    The first flounder that grabbed my attention lived in what is now the Lower Neches Wildlife Management Area in Bridge City. 

    July 26, 2014

  • ESTRADA COLUMN: PED update /Key injuries with contrasting outcomes

    The results of Saturday night’s UFC on Fox: Lawler vs. Brown event were not available as of the time of this writing. It will be covered in a future column.

    July 26, 2014

  • TODORA COLUMN: Hermsen rattles racks in Monday Seniors League at Max Bowl

    Mondays Seniors League had some nice scores this past week. Rick Hermsen started with a 263, finished with a 270 and fit in a 212 in the middle for a nice 745.

    July 26, 2014

  • Nederland 13U Babe Ruth loses 9-0

    The Nederland 13U Babe Ruth team lost 9-0 Friday to Bryant.

    July 25, 2014

  • Bassmaster Elites are coming back

    The Bassmaster Elite Series returns to Southeast Texas in March 2015 to fish out of Orange.
    The announcement was made last week, ahead of Bassmaster’s official tournament schedule announcement and the buzz is already strong in Southeast Texas and beyond.
    I was in Orlando, Fla. attending the ICAST (fishing trade) show and talked with a number of top anglers including Kevin VanDam, Mike Iaconelli and Shaw Grigsby who said it was no surprise they would return considering the massive turnout for the weigh-ins and that the area welcomed them in a very special way.
    It’s far too early to speculate anything like who the top contenders will be or how the fishing will be but there are some things to keep in mind and to look for over the next few months and into the event itself.
    • Prefishing-There is a pre-fishing cutoff that usually extends to right before the Bassmaster Classic and I fully expect most of the anglers in the Elites to come back and prefish.
    Last go-round probably 2/3 of the field fished the area but this time I expect that to be just about everyone. Many of the anglers that did not pre-fish told me they expected to have a lot of water to fish but the sheer volume and diversity was almost overwhelming.
    Beginning probably in the early fall we will see many anglers fishing local waters to get a better idea on how to approach the area.
    • East to West Runs-The Elite anglers fished far and wide but I expect even more running next go-round. After launching from the Simmons Drive Boat Ramp in Orange angler Bill Lowen ran down the Intracoastal, across Galveston Bay and fished in the Clear Lake area and placed in the top 12. The more adventurous anglers will try super long runs, in my opinion, even longer than last time to try and score on big fish. The Intracoastal Canal system makes that possible.
    • Sabine River -Very few of the anglers actually fished in the Sabine River despite the event being called the “Sabine River Challenge”. I think that will change with more anglers running as far north as they can to find pockets of fish that receive little pressure and perhaps a four or five-pounder to push them over the top.
    • Bigger Turnout-Last year some 34,000 people attended the event which set a Bassmaster record for an Elite event.
     It was broken a couple of weeks later in New York but I fully expect the 2015 tournament to draw 40,000 plus. The reason they are coming back is not for the stellar fishing because while we have lots of bass, everyone knows our fishery cannot compare to Toledo Bend for example.
    The support from the public however was amazing and that is what is bringing the top anglers on the planet to fish our area.
    We will have the very best coverage of the event beginning now and leading up to it with exclusive interviews with all of the top pros with not only their thoughts on the big event but with unique tips on how you can catch more fish.
    It’s an exciting time and I look forward to bringing you special coverage on a special event.
    (To contact Chester Moore, e-mail him at You can hear him on “Moore Outdoors” Fridays from 6-7 p.m. on Newstalk AM 560 KLVI or online at or watch him on “God’ Outdoors with Chester Moore” Saturdays at 10 a.m. on

    July 23, 2014

  • Mid County knocked out of tournament

    The Mid County 16-18 Babe Ruth squad’s run to the World Series is over.

    July 22, 2014

  • West golf notepad: West duo claims title in Texas Father-Son

    July 22, 2014

  • Mid County sets up championship series with Tri County

    The Southwest Regional Babe Ruth championship series is set and yes the hometown Mid County squad will be there to play.

    July 21, 2014

From the Fieldhouse blog