4:30 PM ET, December 23, 2006
United Supermarkets Arena, Lubbock, Texas
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 basketball games.
Texas Tech coach Bob Knight is poised to surpass Dean Smith as the winningest coach in Division I men's college basketball history.
• For a look at Knight's coaching career, Click here.
"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 2001.
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," Knight said.
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 good friend.
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."
Team Stat Comparison
|FG Made-Attempted||24-60 (.400)||28-54 (.519)|
|3P Made-Attempted||6-21 (.286)||6-17 (.353)|
|FT Made-Attempted||6-7 (.857)||10-18 (.556)|
|Fouls (Tech/Flagrant)||18 (0/0)||11 (0/0)|
|» Dec 23, 2006||@TTU 72, BUCK 60||Recap|