LUBBOCK, Texas (AP) -- Bob Knight always will be known for his
temper and guile, for throwing a chair and winning national
championships. Now he's got the ultimate vindication for doing
things his way: Nobody has ever won more Division I men's
Love or loathe him and his tactics, Knight tied Dean Smith's
mark of 879 victories Saturday when Texas Tech beat Bucknell 72-60.
"I'm pleased that we're both right where we are," Knight said.
Knight has long insisted the record is a reflection on others,
not himself. He stuck to that stance to the end: There was no
announcement in the arena and four of his five assistants,
including son and successor-to-be Pat, walked by him as if nothing
had happened. The fifth assistant merely patted Knight lightly on
the back as he went past.
"I'd like to have hit 62 home runs. Then I think I would've
accomplished something," Knight said. "I hope those kids that
played [for me] at Army back in '65, I hope some of them watched
the game today and can look at themselves or their grandchildren
and can say, 'I was there when that son of a bitch started.'"
Knight's first chance to own the top spot all by his
sweater-wearing self comes Thursday night at home against UNLV. Two
more home games follow, giving him a good chance of hitting 880 in
front of the community that's embraced him since he arrived in
In his 41st year of coaching, Knight has a record of 879-353
with three national titles. The first was in 1976 with an Indiana
team that went 32-0; no men's team has been perfect since.
Smith went 879-254 over 36 years, all at North Carolina. Knight
and Smith are the only men to have won national championships as
players and coaches. They share the record for coaching in the most
NCAA Tournaments (27).
Tennessee women's coach Pat Summitt is the overall leader in
major-college victories with 924 going into Saturday.
Knight and Smith spoke a few days ago and reminisced about when
Smith passed Adolph Rupp for the top spot in 1997. Although they
are friends, their vastly different styles were once summed up by
Michael Jordan, who played for Smith at North Carolina and for
Knight on the 1984 U.S. Olympic team.
"He said that both Dean and I have always tried to reach the
same end, and that we have different ways of doing it. Coach Smith
is the master of the four-corner offense and Coach Knight is master
of the four-letter word. That's a verbatim quote from Jordan,"
Already a Hall of Famer, the 66-year-old Knight now has a share
of the record some believe drove him back to coaching after being
fired by Indiana after 29 years, three national titles and one too
many run-ins with players, bosses and fans.
Since resurfacing at this West Texas school in the heart of
football country, "The General" hasn't changed much.
He's still fiery, as evidenced by him jerking up a player's chin
earlier this season. He still runs a motion offense and tight
man-to-man defense. And he's still winning: a 115-64 record with
three trips to the NCAA Tournament in five full seasons at a school
that went twice the previous 15 years.
About all that's changed is the color of his sweater (black,
instead of Hoosiers red) and the importance of the milestones.
There was one hint that Knight understands the significance of
this one: His son, Tim, made sure he got the game ball at the end.
"It's a big honor to be on this team," said Jarrius Jackson,
who scored 18 points.
"We're part of history," added teammate Martin Zeno, who also
scored 18. "We left our footprint. That's a good accomplishment
for each and every player on the team."
Playing before a season-high 11,561 fans, and without
third-leading scorer Charlie Burgess (groin), Tech (10-3) led for
all but a couple possessions in the opening minutes. Bucknell got
within 42-39 early in the second half, but missed 13 straight shots
starting with a 3-pointer that could have tied it. The Red Raiders
capitalized with a 17-0 run and it wasn't close again.
"I wanted to double up on the post man today and Pat didn't
want to," Knight said. "He was the most relieved guy in the gym
when the game was over."
John Griffin scored 16 points for Bucknell (5-6), which had won
five of six.
Although the blowout drove away most fans, those who stayed were
standing when time ran out, with three of them holding up black
posters with the numbers 8-7-9.
"How the hell did he coach all those games?" Bucknell coach
Pat Flannery said. "It's not just 879 wins. There's a few losses
in there, if I'm not mistaken. The other night at Xavier I got my
300th. I'm like a pup and I'm 50."
Knight became the youngest-ever coach at a major college when
Army hired him at 24. During his six years at West Point, Mike
Krzyzewski was one of his assistants and Bill Parcells became a
Earlier this week, Parcells joked that Knight would have gotten
the record already if not for an ill-fated zone trap against Seton
Hall at Army.
"I have a learned a lot about how I teach watching him,"
Parcells said. "But all that is only incidental to how I feel
about him personally. ... The Bob Knight that I know is a lot
different than the public perception and I am happy that I have a
friend like that."
Knight went to Indiana in 1971 and quickly made his mark. Over
29 seasons, his teams won 662 games, including NCAA championships
in 1976, '81 and '87.
Yet during his time with the Hoosiers, Knight's coaching smarts
often were overshadowed by his inability to control himself.
He punched a cop while coaching a U.S. team at the Pan Am Games
in Puerto Rico, hurled a chair across the court to protest an
official's call and berated countless players, reporters, staffers
and game organizers. There also were accusations of physical
attacks on players, such as kicking a chair Pat was sitting in
while playing for the Hoosiers.
Knight's boorish behavior was offset by a sterling reputation
for following NCAA rules and graduating players. He also made large
donations to the university's library, all of which led to equally
passionate foes and supporters.
His time at Tech has been filled with more of the same on both
sides of Knight's ledger.
An argument at a grocery store salad bar with Tech's chancellor
and an argument with a building operator in Houston have been
offset by 20-win seasons his first four years, something the
program had never done more than twice in a row.
The Red Raiders crashed to 15-17 last year for only the second
losing record of his career and first since Army.
"Winning does miraculous things," Knight said. "It's an
elixir beyond belief."