Knight teetering on 900 wins
LUBBOCK, Texas (AP) -- Bob Knight is about to enter a realm occupied by only two other Division I basketball coaches, and they're both women.
When the Hall of Fame coach gets win No. 900 he will join former Texas coach Jody Conradt and Tennessee's Pat Summitt as the only members of the Division I club. Knight's first shot comes Saturday at Oklahoma State.
"Oh, who cares about 900?" Knight, ornery as ever at 67, said last week after victory No. 899. That game, a 75-68 victory over UTEP, was marked by his first technical foul this season. He kicked a table after what he thought was a bad call and lost his right shoe.
Knight has been a head coach for 42 years at three Division I schools. He got his 100th victory at Army, then moved to Indiana, where his Hoosiers went 662-239 and won three national championships from 1971-00.
His first NCAA title came in 1976 when Indiana went undefeated, a feat no team has done since. In 1984, he coached the U.S. Olympic team to a gold medal in Los Angeles.
Conradt ended her coaching career last year with 900 wins. Summitt, who got No. 900 in 2006, said it's no surprise Knight has kept winning.
"He demands a performance," said Summit, who has increased her total to 959. "He raises the bar and gets the most out of his players."
The career victory leader in men's coaching is Harry Statham of McKendree University, an NAIA school. The 70-year-old coach has won 948 games in 42 seasons.
Last season, Knight enjoyed another milestone -- career win No. 880 to become the winningest Division I men's coach. In the weeks leading to the mark, Knight pooh-poohed the attention. Then he seemed in his element as he basked in the adulation from a sellout crowd in Lubbock on Jan. 1, 2007. He appeared to choke up as Frank Sinatra's "My Way" blared and confetti rained from the rafters.
To hear Knight frame it, it's all about durability.
"Things that transpire relative to numbers are usually a matter of longevity more than anything else," he said. "You want to be able to do the job well. But I think there have been a lot of really good coaches who coached a relatively short period of time."
In September, Knight signed a three-year contract extension that goes through the 2011-12 season. Two years earlier, his son Pat was appointed head coach designate and will succeed his father upon retirement.
The younger Knight has said he and his father have a plan for when that will happen, but neither is talking.
"You'll read about it somewhere in the newspaper," Bob Knight said. "When I quit everybody will know at the same time that I quit, and they'll have no idea where to find me."
Even the elder Knight's boss isn't clued in.
"We haven't talked about that at all," said athletic director Gerald Myers, who helped bring Knight to Texas Tech after he was fired at Indiana in 2000.
Since his arrival, Knight has led Tech to 20-plus-win seasons in five of six years, something never before done at the school. He also was left with the second-worst record of his career at Tech, finishing 15-17 in 2005-06.
The silver-haired coach has other notations on his resume: He threw a chair across a court; kicked a chair on the sideline while his son Pat was sitting in it; had countless spats with officials and reporters; and was accused of grabbing a player by the throat during a practice. A videotape of that 1997 episode created a zero-tolerance policy that eventually led to his dismissal at Indiana in 2000.
In Lubbock, he argued with the manager of a Houston arena over the size of Tech's locker room and was reprimanded by the university's president after a dustup with the system's chancellor at a salad bar. He also unloaded a barrage of expletives when a sportscaster interviewing Knight asked about his relationship with former Indiana star Steve Alford.
Last year, Knight accidentally hit a woman with birdshot outside Lubbock but apologized and was forgiven. A nearby homeowner, though, accused Knight of intentionally firing toward him the next day. A police investigation was closed and no charges were pursued.
He also received a public reprimand from the Big 12 for criticizing officials in an 80-63 loss at New Mexico on Dec. 15.
After all these years and all the scrutiny, Knight's passion for perfection and winning is undiminished. Myers sees another side that others may overlook.
"He's more positive with players than people might think," Myers said. "He has to build confidence in players. He has his way of building in those players a belief in themselves that they can be successful."