The Knight of Texas

Texas Tech's Bobby Knight is known for being a teacher on the basketball court, but he's also known as a disciplinarian and it has shown with his outlandish behavior. Through it all, he became the NCAA Division I men's basketball all-time winningest coach on January 1, 2007, achieving his 880th career win, only trailing Tennessee women's coach Pat Summitt, who holds the record with 939 as of this writing.

On achieving this milestone, Knight was quoted as saying, "all it means is I've coached a long time and had a lot of good players."

But the record didn't come easy for Knight, also known as "The General," who has a paper trail of controversy within the college basketball community. After coaching at Indiana University for 29 seasons, he was asked to resign in September 2001 after a student said, "Hey Knight, what's up?" with Knight grabbing the student by the arm and told him he "deserves respect."

In May of 2000, Brand had adopted a "zero tolerance" policy for Knight. It was enacted after a former player accused Knight of choking him in a 1997 practice. A tape that aired by CNN showed Knight choking former player Neil Reed. After refusing to resign, he was terminated of his duties by Indiana University President Myles Brand. Brand stated that the termination of Knight was over numerous complaints, not just the above mentioned.

After taking the season off, Texas Tech University came knocking on Knight's door looking for a leader of its underrated basketball program, making its last appearance in the 1996 NCAA tournament. After accepting the offer, Knight brought Texas Tech into the media spotlight — for all the good reasons. He turned them into a winner, leading them to three NCAA tournaments, including a Sweet 16 appearance in 2005.

At the press conference announcing his signing, Knight said, "this is the most comfortable red sweater I've had on in six years."

Even though Knight says his influences are John Wooden, Pete Newell, Hank Iba, and Woody Hayes, he brings his own philosophy into the game of basketball. His motion offense emphasizes post players setting up screens and perimeters players passing the ball until a teammate becomes open for a jump shot or lay-up. On defense, his team is required to guard opposing teams man-to-man and help teammates when needed.

"You don't play against opponents," Knight has been quoted as saying. "You play against the game of basketball."

Even after Knight retires, he will be remembered for two things: being a great basketball coach and controversy. Controversy that has overshadowed a great teacher.

Knight's Resume

West Point: 1965-1971
Indiana University: 1972-2000
Texas Tech University: 2001-present

  • His teams appeared in 27 NCAA tournaments, five Final Fours, won three national championships (1976, 1981, 1987), one NIT championship (1979) ,and the 1984 U.S. Olympic Gold Medal. He also led Indiana to 11 Big Ten Championships and is a four-time National Coach of the Year (1975, 1976, 1987, 1989).
  • 98% of his players graduate and he's never had any NCAA violations.
  • He's raised $1 million for the Texas Tech Library.

Knight's Controversies, according to Wikipedia:

  • In 1976, he pulled guard Jim Wisman off the court by his jersey.
  • In 1979, he was arrested for assaulting a police officer during the Pan American Games in Puerto Rico.
  • In 1988, women's groups were outraged over comments he made in an interview with Connie Chung.
  • In 1992, Knight feigned whipping a black player named Calbert Cheaney.
  • In 1993, Knight kicked his own son Pat Knight during a game.
  • In 1998, Knight was shown berating an NCAA volunteer at a news conference.
  • In 1999, Indiana University was fined $10,000 for Knight's derogatory remarks about a referee.
  • In 1999, an Indiana University secretary accused Knight of throwing a potted plant at her.
  • In 1999, Assistant coach Ron Felling claimed Knight threw him off a chair and punched him in the chest.
  • In 1999, Knight accidentally shot long-time friend Thomas Mikunda in the back and shoulder with a 20-gauge shotgun while on a hunting trip.
  • In 2004, Knight made national headlines for a "verbal dust up" with then Texas Tech University Chancellor David Smith at a Lubbock supermarket.
  • In 2006, Knight was restrained by a police officer after a student's heckling at Baylor University.
  • In 2006, Knight was shown allegedly hitting player Michael Prince under the chin to make him have eye contact with him.

Comments and Conversation

March 1, 2007

kathleen O'Donnell:

Bobby knight is the greatest. You people wouldn’t have anything to writ about if Mr. Robert Knight retired.
Teach your damned kids some manners and they will become better players and students.
I say “kiss Bobbys ASS and mine”
Katie O

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