When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson

01 January 2007

Klass with a capital K

Bobby Knight is now the winningest coach in Division I NCAA Men's Basketball, surpassing Dean Smith's record 879 wins with Texas Tech's victory over New Mexico today.

Calling Coach Knight controversial is like observing that the abortion issue is potentially divisive. He was in fine form at the post-game press conference:

"I don't expect you people to have agreed with what I've done -- and, if I did [care], I would have asked your opinion. And I have never asked the opinions of very many. I've simply tried to do what I think is best in the way that I think you have to do it. I think I've put myself out on a limb at times, knowingly, simply because I thought what I was going to do or say was the best way to get this kid to be the best player or the best student."

Knight has been a college coach for 41 of his 66 years, having broken in at Army and made his mark by winning three national titles in 29 years at Indiana. Fired by Indiana after administrators could no longer tolerate his behavior, he resurfaced at this college basketball outpost in 2001 and has guided the Red Raiders to unprecedented heights.

He's a complex package, someone who can hit a policeman, throw a chair across the court or be accused of wrapping his hands around a player's neck, yet never gets in trouble for breaking NCAA rules, always has high a graduation rate and gave his salary back a few years ago because he didn't think he'd earned it. (source)

Michael Jordan played for Dean Smith at Carolina and for Bobby Knight when Bobby coached the US Olympic team. Asked to compare and contrast their coaching styles, Jordan famously observed, "Coach Smith is the master of the Four Corners offense and Coach Knight is master of the four-letter word."

No comments: