Texas Tech head coach Mark Adams steps down amid suspension over exchange with player

Mark Adams is finished at Texas Tech. (Photo by John E. Moore III/Getty Images)
Mark Adams is finished at Texas Tech. (Photo by John E. Moore III/Getty Images) (John E. Moore III via Getty Images)

Texas Tech head coach Mark Adams has stepped down from his position three days after being suspended for a verbal exchange with a player, the school announced Wednesday.

Adams was suspended ahead of Texas Tech's Big 12 tournament opener after the school said it learned of an incident in a coaching session in which Adams tried to encourage a student-athlete to be more receptive to coaching by quoting a Bible verse about workers, teachers, parents and slaves serving their masters.

The school said Adams immediately apologized to the team but was issued a written reprimand and suspended as Texas Tech looked into the matter. Adams, however, told Stadium that he did not apologize while confirming the basics of the school's account, saying he was quoting scripture and "one of my coaches said it bothered the player."

Per Texas Tech's statement, athletic director Kirby Hocutt determined that Adams' comment was "unintentional and an isolated incident."

Adams is quoted in the statement as saying he and the school believed the incident had become a distraction for the program:

"My lifelong goal was to help and be a positive influence on my players, and to be a part of the Texas Tech men's basketball team," Adams said. "However, both the University and I believe this incident has become a distraction for the Texas Tech men's basketball team and the University, which I care about so deeply."

According to Stadium, Tech had also been investigating an allegation that Adams spit on a player during a game earlier in the season. Adams reportedly said he had a bad cough and got saliva on the player, but he was accused of saying to him, “I can spit on you whenever I want to." Adams told Stadium, "I don't remember ever saying that."

Adams, a Texas Tech alum, had been coaching in Lubbock since 2016, when he joined the program as an assistant under Chris Beard after working for him at Little Rock. Adams, who previously worked as a head coach at Howard and three other schools, took over when Beard left for Texas in 2021. He also worked as director of basketball operations for Texas Tech from 2013 to 2015.

In two seasons under Adams, the Red Raiders went 43-25 (17-19 in Big 12 play) and made the Sweet 16 in the NCAA tournament last year. They lost 78-62 to West Virginia in Wednesday's Big 12 tournament opener, likely ending a disappointing season.