Texas Tech suspends men's basketball coach Mark Adams after exchange with player

According to the school, Adams cited a Bible verse referencing slaves serving their masters to a player during practice

LUBBOCK, TEXAS - FEBRUARY 11: Head coach Mark Adams of the Texas Tech Red Raiders looks to the bench during the second half of the college basketball game against the Kansas State Wildcats at United Supermarkets Arena on February 11, 2023 in Lubbock, Texas. (Photo by John E. Moore III/Getty Images)
Texas Tech and Mark Adams went 16-15 in 2022-23 ahead of the Big 12 tournament. (Photo by John E. Moore III/Getty Images)

Texas Tech has suspended men’s basketball coach Mark Adams for comments he made to a player.

The school announced Adams' suspension Sunday ahead of its Big 12 tournament opener against West Virginia on Wednesday. Tech said Adams cited a Bible verse that included a reference to slaves serving their masters.

"On Friday, Director of Athletics Kirby Hocutt was made aware of an incident regarding a coaching session between Adams and a member of the men’s basketball team," the school said in a statement. "Adams was encouraging the student-athlete to be more receptive to coaching and referenced Bible verses about workers, teachers, parents, and slaves serving their masters. Adams immediately addressed this with the team and apologized.

"Upon learning of the incident, Hocutt addressed this matter with Adams and issued him a written reprimand. Hocutt subsequently made the decision to suspend Adams effective immediately in order to conduct a more thorough inquiry of Adams’ interactions with his players and staff."

Adams confirmed the basics of Texas Tech's account to Stadium and said that he did not apologize for what he said.

“I was quoting the scripture,” Adams told Stadium.

Adams addressed the team the following day, but said it was to explain the situation. He said he did not apologize.

“One of my coaches said it bothered the player,” Adams said.

According to Stadium, Tech is also investigating an allegation that Adams spit on a player during a game earlier in the season. Adams, who said he had a bad cough and got saliva on a player, is accused of telling the player “I can spit on you whenever I want to." He told Stadium that he didn't remember saying that.

Adams is in his second season at Texas Tech and the Red Raiders are 16-15 ahead of the Big 12 tournament. Tech was 27-10 in Adams’ first season in 2021-22 after taking over for Chris Beard as the Red Raiders lost to Duke in the Sweet 16.

Before he was promoted to head coach, Adams was Tech’s associate head coach from 2016-2021 and was an assistant to Beard at Little Rock before Beard was hired at Tech. He served as Texas Tech’s director of basketball operations from 2013-15 after a coaching career that included head coaching stints at five colleges and universities from 1981-2013.

The Red Raiders finished ninth in the Big 12 this season after a 5-13 conference record. Texas Tech opened the Big 12 season on an eight-game losing streak before going 5-5 in its last 10 games. It's not seen as a realistic NCAA tournament team.