07 February 2008

Bob Knight quits on his team, retains position as basketball's biggest asshole

Several sportswriters have pointed out the irony of Bob Knight quitting on his team in mid-season. It's the sort of thing he would ruin a player for, but hey, he's tired. It happens.

It's not a coincidence that Texas Tech was the last place Knight coached. No major program would touch him, and no top-flight recruits would play for him, because he's a bullying asshole. I know he graduated most of his players, and also that he never cheated. So what? That's like being proud of not beating your wife. Idiot.

King Kaufman over on Salon (subscription not required - you may have to click through an advert) wrote a very good article about why Bob Knight is a bully and a hypocrite. It's better than I could do, so here's an excerpt, with an encouragement to read the whole thing for more insight.

For all the talk of an era ending with the last of the tough, old-school coaches walking off into the sunset, Bob Knight had ceased to be relevant years ago. For most of the last 20 years, he's only gotten his name in the papers when he pulled off his trademark move, bullying someone who for whatever reason wasn't in a position to fight back.

The signature moment of this last part of his career was the 1995 press conference he held up for several minutes while he publicly berated some NCAA volunteer for passing along the incorrect information that Knight wouldn't appear. It was vintage Knight: He was whaling on probably the single most powerless person in the building.


Zach said...

ceased to be relevant? he had 5 20 win seasons at T Tech. is he an asshole? yes. is he one of the best coaches ever? yes. not mutually exclusive. it always amazes me that people cannot think in the gray. it always has to be black or white. shame on you.

case said...

20 win seasons do not imply relevance. I suggest that it's making the NCAA tournament and advancing that define success at a high level in college basketball. Also, an ability to attract top-shelf recruits. because I'm that kind of nerd, here's Knight's NCAA tourney results in the last ten years:
2007: 10 seed, bounced in first round
2006: didn't make it
2005: 6 seed, made it to sweet 16 / best result in 10 years
2004: 8 seed, bounced in second round
2003: didn't make it
2002: 6 seed, bounced in first round (although the Indiana team he recruited made the finals, he wasn't the coach).

now Indiana results, where he had a reputation for early-tournament flameouts:

2001: 4 seed, bounced in first round
2000: 6 seed, bounced in first round
1999: 6 seed, bounced in second round
1998: 7 seed, bounced in second round

see a pattern here?

this was a coach that had declining success as the game changed. As such, he had ceased to be relevant. He was just a guy known for his past successes playing out the twilight of his coaching career in a basketball backwater. And then he quit on his team.

He was an amazing coach in the 70's and 80's, but those days are long gone. He gets the most from the least, but if he were a better person he would be able to attract better players (and he would be a better coach).

Zach said...

and T Tech prior to his arrival? pretty good turn around for an irrelevant coach. also, i never claimed he could not have been a better coach, just that he was one of the greatest. i think that is what gets people. sure, he could have done a better job but he was not that guy. the job he did was still outstanding. p.s. how many coaches even make that many tournament appearances? i do not know but trust that you will. i suspect not that many. 900 wins is not an accident. not just an indication of a long career.

case said...

64 coaches make the NCAA tournament every year, so any year you don't make it you're not doing very good. I don't care of you get an at-large or play-in berth. If you don't get invited then you're coming up short (by major-program standards). Sure there are lots of coaches that don't make it, but they aren't going to the hall of fame.

I don't think there's any excuse for Bob Knight's "way". He was always so proud of doing it his way, like that was some kind of achievement. Bob Knight's way sucks, and has sucked for 20 years. He's a bully that picks on people that are afraid/unable/unwilling to stand up to him. So what if he wins a lot of games? It's like saying that Chairman Mao ran a good government because the people all followed orders.

The fact that Bob Knight won so many games w/ mediocre players is a testament to how good a coach he really is. His motion offenses could overcome imbalances in player skill. But he used his considerable talents as a coach as an excuse to berate, belittle, and insult the people around him. Fuck. That. Shit.

Basketball is better off without him, and that's a shame, because he was a helluva coach.