Bad Boy Knight Approaches Coaching Record

He has become known, simply, as "The General" -- and Bob Knight, who tonight bids for a record-setting win, seems to have an almost military approach to coaching.

During a 1985 game against Purdue, he displayed his storied temper -- throwing a chair across the floor.

Knight has a demanding, hands-on style. Last month, against Gardner-Webb, Knight was shown on camera allegedly hitting one of his Texas Tech players under the chin.

"He challenged you on every aspect," said Quinn Buckner, a former player.

"You're going to get, you know, the best motivator," said another, Kirk Haston, "the best coach, the best teacher, and, and by far the best cursing out you'll ever get in your entire life."

If Knight's Texas Tech squad beats the University of Nevada-Las Vegas tonight, it would be his 880th victory. This would make him the Division I men's coach with the most wins in history, propelling him past former North Carolina coach Dean Smith's mark of 879 wins.

With his controversial methods, Knight, 66, has created unprecedented success. In 1963, at just 24, he became the youngest coach in major college history, winning 102 games with Army.

Then, in 29 years at Indiana, he built a dynasty. His 1976 team is the last to win every one of its games, including the national championship.

He won two more national titles, in 1981 and 1987, and over the years his players have -- mostly -- praised his style.

"He teaches you how to think the game," said Isiah Thomas, part of the 1981 team. "Now, he gets upset with you when you don't think the game properly. The way he teaches is at a totally different level."

At a recent practice, Knight said, "Smart. Smart wins. The most simple proverb that there is in the sport. Smart wins."

"Smart" has won Knight, as of this afternoon, his 879 games --including the last 90 for the Texas Tech Red Raiders, which he turned into a legitimate tournament team.

But there has also been a dark side to Knight's story. After numerous controversies, he was fired by Indiana after a confrontation with a student.

And he has been lambasted by some former players, civil rights leaders and feminists, and snapped at this reporter in his first interview after Indiana fired him in 2000.

Ultimately, while Knight the human being has both legions of admirers and critics, Knight the coach is inarguably a legend.