Monday, February 4, 2008

Farewell to the General

February 4, 2008: Maybe not a day that will live in infamy per se, but a historic one anyway. NCAA Division I's winningest Basketball coach, abruptly resigns midway through the 2008 Texas Tech season. While it may not be a shock that this was his last season coaching, the fact that he resigned in the middle of this campaign is the shock to many. Say what you will about the man, and his practices, he was one of the best to coach the game. He walks away with a career record of 902–371, and even more importantly, on his own terms. Luckily for Texas Tech, the Red Raiders had a plan in place with Knight's son, Pat, ready to take over since 2005.

Knight informed the Texas Tech officials of this abrupt decision around noon today. Knight's Texas Tech Red Raiders are 2-2 in their last 4 games. The reason that stat is important is that right before that 2-2 stretch Knight won his 900th game as a Div. I Head Coach. Knight's career began in the mid-50s as a two sport star at Orrville High School and followed up with his first National Championship run, as a reserve, with the Ohio State Buckeyes. After one year as a coach at an Ohio High School he became an assistant on the staff at Army. After only two years as an assistant he became the Head Coach and the rest is history. 100 of his 902 wins came while a coach at Army. He finished a Six year career at Army with a record of 102-50. Indiana noticed him and Knight was on the fast-track to NCAA fame. The next 29 years were spent patrolling the sidelines in Hoosierville as The General taking a NIT first round exit team in his first year to the Final Four the next. After an off year, missing the tournament, and an Elite Eight exit, Knight won his second National Championship, first as a coach. He won 2 more in the next Nine years. A few more Sweet Sixteens, Elite Eights, and Final Fours, as well as an NIT Championship and Indiana was a premier program.

Bobby Knight became more famous, or infamous, at times due to his behavior and tantrums, but he also made Indiana a powerhouse that was a perennial contender. In 2000, following the NCAA tournament and a first round loss, a tape was released of Knight grabbing player, Neil Reed, by the throat. In September of the same year Knight was fired following an incident with an IU student. Knight left Indiana with 1 NIT Championship, 3 NCAA Championships, and 11 Big Eleven Championships and a 661–240 record. He took the 2000-2001 season off looking for job openings. And found a place in Lubbock. Tech made it to the NCAA Championships in 1996, and hadn't been back since. In 2001 with Knight at the helm Tech made it back to the NCAA Tournament his first year there. Knight went on to lead Tech to 5 out of Six over .500 seasons and a record of 138–82.

Monday, February 4, 2008: Knight walks away, this time by his own accord. With a Final Tally of 902–371 as a Div I Head Coach with 5 coaching awards, 3 National Championships, 1 NIT Championship, 11 Big Eleven Championships, countless books, and an absolutely terrible made for ESPN movie featuring Brian Dennehy as The General.

Good Bye and Good Knight. So Long General