When most people think of Coach Bob Knight, they think of one of his many memorable incidents.
Like the one where he threw a chair across a basketball court. Or how about the time when he choked a player during practice? And how about those press conferences of his laced with obscenities and anger?
Yet for all that hostility, he holds the record for most career wins in NCAA Division 1 college basketball with 902. In 42 seasons, he’s been a head coach at Army, Indiana and Texas Tech. Furthermore, he’s won three national titles.
In short, the man is a coaching legend not just for his coaching style but for his success.
Yet that doesn’t mean everyone loves him. I personally do not like Coach Knight and his style. If I went to one of the schools he was at, I would not sign up for the basketball team. I got enough to worry about and I don’t need a volatile coach on top of that.
Yet, facts are facts and you can’t argue with success. I may not approve of Coach Knight but I can’t overlook his many victories.
Thus the news of his sudden retirement is huge. Not for the mere fact that no longer will the world bear witness to his many outbursts. But because one of the game’s best teachers is walking away.
Coach Knight’s reasoning for his retirement was that he was simply too tired to coach anymore. Knight, 67, also said that he wanted to give his son Pat a chance to follow in his footsteps.
I would think after all those rants he would grow tired over time. Frankly, it would do his blood pressure some good. But seriously, at his age I can understand his desire to stop working and relax at home.
The thing about Coach Knight though is that his motivations for retiring now, in the middle of the season, show a side of him I never knew.
Beyond his volatile demeanour is a heart that has compassion. Even in spite of his ‘my way or the highway’ attitude, he cares about the legacy he’s leaving behind with his underlings.
The fact is almost all his former players have nothing but good remarks to say about Knight. Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski, known simply as Coach K, played for Knight at Army. He said Knight should be cherished as a basketball icon and that Knight had the biggest impact on his life.
At the end of the day, as much I may not favour Knight, there’s no doubt of his greatness. His resume speaks for itself and should propel him into the Hall of Fame. Love him or hate him, college basketball fans should make an effort to remember Coach Knight as a legend of college basketball not just of tirades.