Mark Adams suspension: Texas Tech basketball coach punished for ‘racially insensitive comment’

Texas Tech has suspended sophomore coach Mark Adams, according to a statement released by the school.

According to the university’s release – which did not provide a timeline for his suspension – Adams was reprimanded for using “an inappropriate, unacceptable and racially insensitive comment.” Athletic director Kirby Hocutt was made aware of the comment on Friday, two days before Adams was suspended.

The timing of Adams’ suspension comes at a pivotal time in the Red Raiders’ 2022-23 season. The team started the year 10-2 before finishing the season 16-15 after winning the Big 12 game 5-13. As of this writing, Texas Tech is unlikely to compete in the 2023 NCAA tournament and would likely need to win the Big 12 tournament to qualify as an automatic qualifier. The 9-man Red Raiders begin Wednesday’s conference tournament game against 8-man West Virginia.

That’s a far cry from Adams’ run in freshman year 2021-22, a season in which he led Texas Tech to a 27-10 record (12-6 in Big 12 play) and a berth in the Sweet 16.

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Adams, 66, is a 1979 Texas Tech graduate and was an assistant to former coach Chris Beard from 2016 to 2021. Adams replaced Beard after joining Texas coach in 2021-22. Adams also served as the school’s director of basketball operations from 2013 to 2015 under Tubby Smith.

Here’s what you need to know about his suspension:

Why did Texas Tech suspend Mark Adams?

According to Texas Tech, Hocutt suspended Adams on Sunday after Adams made a “racially insensitive comment” in an attempt to make a player more receptive to his coaching.

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In an attempt to encourage the player, “Adams referred to Bible verses about workers, teachers, parents, and slaves serving their masters.” The school said he immediately raised the issue with the team and apologized.

Still, Hocutt issued Adams a written reprimand before deciding to suspend him in order to conduct a “more thorough investigation into Adams’ interactions” with his team.

Mark Adam’s contract

It’s uncertain if Adams’ suspension – coupled with his team’s struggles in 2022-23 – will result in the school terminating their contract with him. Adams signed a contract extension after his team’s Sweet 16 run that will net him $15.5 million through the end of the five-year extension through 2026-27.

According to a report by ESPN, if Adams were fired without cause, he would be owed 60 percent of his remaining contract, more than $7 million.

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