Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Good Knight Sweet General

As you probably know by now, Bob Knight stepped down as the head coach of Texas Tech yesterday. Even after Knight was fired from IU, I always remained a fan. In my mind, he was the greatest basketball mind in the history of college basketball, if not all of basketball. With all of his chair throwing and interviews during which he analogizes referees in tight-fitting pants to "reformed prostitutes," what gets lost about Knight is all of the good he did for the universities where he coached and for his players, from raising millions of dollars for the IU library system, to graduating well over 90% of his players, to guest lecturing during bass fishing classes (yes, you can take a one-credit bass fishing phys ed class at IU -- just ask my wife), to everything he did for Landon Turner. For those of you who don't know, Landon Turner was a star forward on the 1981 NCAA title team as a junior. The following summer, Turner was paralyzed from the waist down in a car accident. Knight was one of his first visitors in the hospital (and had to compose himself after crying outside Turner's hospital room). He established the Landon Turner Trust Fund, adding $60,000 of his own money. To top it off, before the 1982 NBA draft, Knight called up good friend Red Auerbach and asked him to draft Turner (who had always dreamed of playing for the Celtics), which Auerbach did. Most people see Knight as some sort of monster, and truth be told, not every player is going to fit in Knight's system or be able to withstand his temperament. But I have never seen a coach that cares more for his players than Coach Knight. The game will truly miss him.

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