Saluting the General

Bob Knight's sudden resignation at Texas Tech Monday afternoon apparently ends one of the most fascinating careers in the history of college basketball. Knight might be the Hillary Clinton of college coaches. Knight was and is a polarizing figure that 90 percent of the people either love or despise.

I have always been in the ten percent that clearly sees both the good and bad in the man Dick Vitale dubbed "The General". Robert Montgomery Knight was a successful coach, exceptional teacher, developer of character, stickler for the rules and demander of excellence. He was also a bully and a boor. He was a man who commanded and demanded respect, but all too rarely displayed it to others. He thought nothing of insulting members of the media for having the temerity to ask a question he didn't appreciate. He frequently bullied and verbally abused adult men who served as coordinators of NCAA basketball tournament press conferences.

I wouldn't want to play for him and I would never let my child play for him. I also have tremendous respect for what he accomplished on and off the court. I often wonder how big his legend would be if he had mastered the art of saving his venom for private, not public settings like his protégée Mike Krzyzewski.

Remarkable Record

Bob Knight steps down as the winningest coach in the history of college basketball with a 902-and-371 record. He won't hold the top spot for long; the aforementioned "Coach K" will catch him in a few years. Still, 902 victories is a staggering number. But there are other Knight numbers that are pretty amazing:

  • 3 NCAA Championships ('76, '81, '87)
  • 45 NCAA Tournament Wins
  • 28 NCAA Bids
  • 8 NIT Invitations (one title)
  • 29 20-win seasons
  • 4 30-win seasons

    Bob Knight did it all while feuding with rivals, real and imagined for more than forty years. He coached during seven U.S. Presidencies, starting with Richard Nixon. He won. He played by the rules and earned a place among the All-time greatest coaches in the game. It's a shame he chose to be such a jerk while doing so, but it stands to reason. After all when he became the winningest coach last season he had them play the Frank Sinatra classic, "My Way".

    Questions or comments? Contact's Larry Vettel

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