LUBBOCK, Texas -- Bob Knight left when he wanted to this
Almost a decade after he was fired by Indiana, the school he led
to three national championships, Knight walked away Monday from
college basketball in midseason.
The Texas Tech coach, known as much for his brilliance as his
fiery temper, abruptly resigned and handed over the team to his
"He's ready," successor and son Pat Knight said during his
weekly radio show. "He's tired."
It was a stunning midseason move by the winningest men's coach
in major college basketball, who gave no hint a change was coming.
Pat Knight, a Red Raiders assistant, was appointed his father's
successor in 2005.
"There's a transition that's going to take place here from me
to Pat and I've dwelt on this all year long ... how it would be
best for him and for the team and for what we can do in the long
run to make this the best thing for Texas Tech," Knight told the
Lubbock Avalanche-Journal, which first reported the resignation.
Knight told the newspaper that health concerns did not prompt his decision, but he jokingly added, "I feel better today than I did on Saturday."
On Tuesday morning, Bob Knight also told Minneapolis Star
Tribune sports columnist Sid Hartman on radio station WCCO-AM that
it was just time to go. The remaining 10 games would also give his
son and successor, Pat Knight, a chance to work with many of the
"It really wasn't a very tough one, Sid," he said. "And so
with that in mind, I just thought it was time for me to step down
here and let him take over this coaching job here."
Bob Knight also said he's ready to quit battling with the
"Well, I won't have to see any more bad calls, that'll be one
thing," he said. "I mean, we had some horrendous officiating in
games this year. And I think that really, to me, has never been a
part of the game, but this year it just seemed to bother me more
than at any other time."
Knight left during his 42nd year as a head coach with more wins
than any Division I men's coach and only two losing seasons. Pat Knight inherited a team that
is struggling at 12-8.
"This is my team, that's what he told me. He's done," Pat
Knight said on his radio show. "He's got a lot of life left to
The 67-year-old Knight informed Texas Tech athletic director
Gerald Myers of his decision in a meeting around noon Monday, Texas
Tech chancellor Kent Hance told The Associated Press. Knight then
called Hance and told him.
"I think Bob is through with coaching. I think he got to the
point where it wasn't fun for him," Hance said. "He thought about
it Sunday all day and talked to his wife and decided 'This is
something I want to do.'"
Myers said Knight told the team before practice Monday.
The Red Raiders beat Oklahoma State 67-60 on Saturday, giving
Knight his 902nd victory. He earned his 900th last month against
The Red Raiders next play Wednesday night at Baylor.
Knight's resignation will not cost the Red Raiders one of their top recruits. Corbin Ray, a 6-foot-8 forward from Katy, Texas, told KRIV-TV in Houston on Monday night that he would still attend Texas Tech.
"Pat was the one recruiting me," Corbin said, according to the station. "I originally committed to him first. I was just hoping to get a year or two with Coach Bob Knight. I respect his decision and wish him the best."
"I guess you can never be surprised at some of the things Bob
does," former UCLA coach John Wooden told the AP. "I don't think
there's ever been a better teacher of the game of basketball than
Bob. I don't always approve of his methods, but his players for the
most part are very loyal to him. I would say that no player that
ever played for him would not say he did not come out a stronger
Knight broke in at
Army in 1965, but made his mark in 29 years at Indiana.
He's a complex package, someone who can hit a policeman, throw a
chair across the court or be accused of wrapping his hands around a
player's neck, yet has never been in trouble for breaking NCAA
rules, always has a high graduation rate and gave his salary back a
few years ago because he didn't think he'd earned it.
In September, Knight signed a three-year contract extension that
ran through the 2011-12 season.
"I didn't know, I've never really known when I was going to
step down from this job. As I thought about it, my first thought
was at the end of this season," Knight told the Lubbock paper.
"My thinking was .. the best thing for the long run for this team
would be for Pat and his staff to coach these remaining 10 games."
NCAA president Myles Brand, the former Indiana University
president who fired Knight, declined to comment on the resignation,
spokesman Erik Christianson said.
Knight arrived at Texas Tech in March 2001, six months after
being fired by Indiana for what school officials there called a
"pattern of unacceptable behavior."
The most recent off-the-court action by Knight to draw headlines
came last November, when two people accused the coach or his
hunting buddy of hitting them with birdshot. Neither person was
injured or required medical treatment, and no criminal charges were
filed against Knight.
In Knight's first six years at Tech, he led the Red Raiders to
five 20-win seasons, a first at the school.
Knight passed former North Carolina coach Dean Smith as the
winningest Division I coach Jan. 1, 2007, getting career win No.
880. To celebrate the milestone Knight chose "My Way" by Frank
Sinatra, a mantra for how he navigated his personal and
Back then, Knight explained why "My Way" was so fitting.
"I've simply tried to do what I think is best," Knight said.
"Regrets? Sure. Just like the song. I have regrets. I wish I could
have done things better at times. I wish I would have had a better
answer, a better way, at times. But just like he said, I did it my
way and when I look back on it, I don't think my way was all that
What he did and how he did it made Knight a legend. However, the
influence and discipline he brought to coaching made him special.
"Outside of my immediate family, no single person has had a
greater impact on my life than Coach Knight," said Duke coach Mike
Krzyzewski, who played for Knight at Army. "I have the ultimate
respect for him as a coach and a mentor, but even more so as a dear
friend. For more than 40 years, the life lessons I have learned
from Coach are immeasurable. Simply put, I love him."
Knight got his 100th victory at Army, then moved to Indiana,
where his Hoosiers went 662-239 from 1971-2000. He won national
titles there in 1976, '81 and '87.
"I am very fortunate and blessed to have played for him. He
made me a better man and for that I am grateful," former Indiana
star and current New Mexico coach Steve Alford said.
Knight's first NCAA title came in 1976 when Indiana went
undefeated, a feat no team has accomplished since. In 1984, he
coached the U.S. Olympic team to a gold medal in Los Angeles.
When he began his coaching career at Army, he was 24, the
youngest-ever Division I coach. Knight won 20 or more games in 29
"Today was the most relaxed and relieved I've seen him in a
long time," Pat Knight said during his show. "He thought about
doing it a year ago but he didn't want people to think he was just
staying for the record. So he kind of pushed himself to go one more
Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.