In March 2001 the most recognizable face in coaching history made Texas Tech his new home. "From the very beginning he had a huge impact financially for us," says Bobby Gleason, TTU Senior Associate Athletics Business Director.
In his first year at Tech, he raised $100,000 for the library. In less than three years as Tech Men's Head Basketball Coach, he's earned almost $8 million in additional revenue for Texas Tech. He's being called the most marketable coach in the country.
"Season tickets sales have jumped tremendously during that time period," says Gleason. In fact before Coach Knight, Tech men's basketball ticket sales averaged about $500,000 a year. After Knight's arrival sales have more than tripled. Now averaging $1.7 million in sales. Not only do fans want a glimpse of the General and his army at work, they also want souvenirs.
"They had such a huge demand for autographed items that they started by necessity charging for those items," says Gleason.
Since July more than 800 fans have paid $25 or more to have a basketball autographed by Knight. "Coach Knight was telling me he thought they generated over $20,000 in a four month period just for signed autographs," says Gleason.
Just two weeks ago Knight became the first college basketball coach to endorse companies on his court-side wardrobe. Now he sports the O' Reilly Auto Parts logo on his signature sweaters. They say when it comes to spending their advertising dollars, Knight was their first choice.
"When Coach Knight talks everybody listens. We wanted to tie in with a solid program. Texas Tech certainly was a good solid program and he's proved over the years that he builds winners and we wanted to be associated with that," says Vice President of Advertising for O' Reilly Auto Parts, Ron Byerly.
So where does the money from the O' Reilly endorsement go? Knight is guaranteed an outside income of $500,000. What part he doesn't earn the university pays, but that's not a problem for Tech, because his endorsements more than cover that.