COVER: Basketball coaching great Bobby Knight, still head coach of Texas Tech in 2007 when this photo was taken, is the big draw a campaign event next week in Dripping Springs for congressional candidate Roger Williams. PHOTO by STEVEN WILKE VIA FLICKR
by BRAD ROLLINS
Legendary basketball coach Bobby Knight is headlining a fundraiser for congressional candidate Roger Williams next week in Dripping Springs.
The event is hosted by former County Judge Jim Powers, Maripat Powers and homebuilder Wayne Lott, who have endorsed Williams in the July 31 Republican primary runoff against Wes Riddle. The gathering is 6 to 7:30 p.m. at the Powers’ home, 1280 Drifting Wind Run.
It’s billed as a $50-a-person campaign fundraiser but Powers said he isn’t going to turn away voters who live in the congressional district and want to meet Williams, a Weatherford car dealer and former Texas Secretary of State. Before he was either businessman or bureaucrat, Williams was a star baseball player and later head coach at Texas Christian University.
Knight, who held court at Indiana for 29 years and Texas Tech for seven, has coached NCAA Division I basketball teams to 902 wins, runner up to the all-time national record. Knight is known as much for his volatility as his victories, as the Houston Chronicle has put it. In endorsing Williams last year, “The General” played up the candidate’s outsider credentials.
“He’s not a politician. He’s a businessman and a problem-solver,” Knight said.
Williams and Riddle are the last men standing from an original field of 12 that sought the GOP nomination for Congressional District 25, all but certain to be held by a Republican. The newly drawn district takes in roughly the western half of Hays County — Wimberley, Woodcreek and Dripping Springs — and all or part of a dozen other counties.
Powers was an early Hays County supporter of Roger Williams over both Riddle and the other Williams — former Railroad Commissioner Michael Williams, who finished fifth districtwide with about 10.5 percent in the May primary. In Hays County, Roger Williams won 880 votes, 22.2 percent; Michael Williams won 647 votes, 16.3 percent; and Riddle won 638 votes, 16.1 percent.
Roger Williams is also endorsed in the runoff by former U.S. President George H.W. Bush and Gov. Rick Perry.
A former U.S. army colonel and West Point instructor, Riddle has lined up high-profile endorsements of his own. He is backed by U.S. Rep. Ron Paul, the libertarian and Tea Party figure, and former Alabama Chief Justice Roy S. Moore, who became a Christian conservative cause célèbre when he ignored a federal judge’s order to remove a Ten Commandments monument from the state courthouse lobby.
CORRECTION 07/26/12: This story originally said that Roger Williams played basketball at Texas Christian University. He played baseball.