Bob Knight's Final Act a Hypocritical One in a Career Full of Them


If this is it and Bob Knight has really just folded and walked in midseason, it's one more hypocritical moment in a career full of them.

Knight has always been a putative disciplinarian who lacked self-discipline. Now a man who demands loyalty has abandoned a Texas Tech team that is 12-8 overall, 3-3 in the Big 12 and No. 54 in the RPI -- in other words, still harboring NCAA Tournament hopes. Along the way, the guy who has always disdained individual player glory sure didn't quit before he reached that 900-victory plateau, did he?

So now Knight takes his record 902 wins and quits. Bobby Petrino was charbroiled for leaving the Atlanta Falcons with three games left and the team at 3-10, but The General surrenders with at least 11 games to go and we're supposed to give him a pass?

I don't think so. Not if there are no health issues attached for him or anyone in his immediate family, and by all indications from those surrounding Knight, there are none. Remember, this is a guy who signed a three-year contract extension in September.

Knight told the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal that the timing was largely to benefit his son and successor, Pat.

"My thinking was that for Pat and for this team -- most of which is returning next year -- the best thing for the long run for this team would be for Pat and his staff to coach these remaining 10 [regular-season] games," Knight said, according to the paper. "And [to] get an understanding, get a real feel for each other, be able to think over the course of the spring and summer going into next season about how people had played, how things had been done offensively or defensively, what could be done or couldn't be done, what to stay away from, what to work on and develop that from a game standpoint as the coach in charge of everything rather than as an assistant coach."


That's nice for Pat Knight, who has a chance to be a very successful head coach. But what about the four seniors on the Tech roster: leading scorer Martin Zeno, No. 3 assist man Charlie Burgess and reserves Esmir Rizvic and Tyler Hoffmeister? How do they feel about having the last weeks of their college careers turned over to on-the-job training for the coach's son?

You'll hear a lot in the coming days about Knight doing this "on his terms." Of course he did. When has Bob Knight ever done anything that was not on his terms? He is a walking one-way street.

The irony of this is where Knight's terms left him in the end.

Knight's terms left him at a remote basketball backwater on the Texas prairie, where the stands at the home gym are rarely full. Knight's terms left him a bit player on the national stage, his relevance leaking steadily as he made Texas Tech basketball better but couldn't make it matter. Knight's terms left him far from the basketball mecca where he had his greatest glory and became a polarizing icon in the sport.

If Bob Knight had been willing to budge off "his terms" -- to treat people with the respect he always demanded, to refrain from bullying, to avoid the abusive behavior -- this moment would be far different.

The tribute would be unanimous and universal.

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