902 Wins and Out

Bobby Knight attracts controversy, why should his resignation be any different. Knight abruptly resigned as head coach at Texas Tech last week, only a few games after eclipsing 900 career wins. He cited no health reasons, no family reasons, simply tired and wanted his son Pat to get some game experience before next season. If that’s the case, place Knight right next to Bobby Petrino, Rich Rodriguez, and all the college coaches criticized for leaving players and recruits high and dry to pursue greener pastures.

Reputation aside, Knight quit on his team, going against everything Bob Knight stands for. A harsh disciplinarian that most felt, despite his occasion histrionics, wanted the best for his kids and the game of college basketball. Those who supported Knight, saw him as a teacher and father figure first, coach second, and looked past the negative accusations that he abused kids.

The age old question goes, would you send your son to play for Bobby Knight? Now the families for a whole team of Texas Tech players, led by four seniors with eleven games left in their career, have to second guess their answer, left high and dry in the aisle. The former Army coach preaches leadership and hardwork. What kind of leader quits? How do you instill hard work in kids when you set the example by leaving work because your tired? He failed his troops. Its also ironic and timely that Knight suddenly got tired after his 900th win, not before.

Maybe I am overdramatizing the impact, but make no mistake if the Red Raiders stood in the top three of the Big 12, rather than the bottom half, and were not winless on the road, Knight would still be around for the ride. After leaving Indiana because he declined to conform to authorities, Knight has never had the recruits to win consistently. Texas Tech marked success by reaching the second round of the NCAA tournament. In fact, Knight did not exactly field dominant teams his last years at IU. Tired could mean tired of losing. If he resurfaces at a big school, there’s your answer.

Knight has his place in history – the national championships, the undefeated season, the 900 wins – but this ratchets down his reputation a notch. Quiting earns Bobby Knight a small asterisk in the record books.

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