Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Bobby Knight's last losing legacy

Were coaching genius hereditary, James Wooden, Allie McGuire and Adolph Rupp II would be heralded throughout the land.

It isn't ... and they aren't.

Pat Knight isn't heralded, either. He's just another ex-coach, having been canned by Texas Tech after his Red Raiders compiled the second-worst record in the Big 12 during his three-year run.

Ten years ago, Bobby Knight came out of forced retirement to energize the Texas Tech program and put Lubbock on the map. Short term, the hire was a resounding success. Knight, truly one of the great coaching minds in sports history, worked wonders with the decent group of basketball players he inherited.

In his fourth season, the Red Raiders advanced to the Sweet Sixteen -- something his Hoosiers couldn't do in his final six stormy seasons at Indiana. Texas Tech fans, who had been apathetic for decades, turned out to games. ESPN even found Lubbock a few times.

Knight seemed to get bored, however, and the year after the Sweet Sixteen -- when his first full recruiting class was in -- the Red Raiders went 15-17. Two years later, his program flagging and attendance waning, he resigned midseason.

As part of his employment, he had arranged for Pat to take over when he stepped down. It turned out to be the coaching version of a fraternity legacy: an ill-equipped kid being invited to pledge only because his old man had been frat president.

Unlike Bobby, Pat actually is a reasonable fellow. There are no known cases of him having strangled players at practice or throwing chairs across the court. He handled his firing with class.

Unlike Bobby, Pat can't coach a lick.

His Red Raiders were rotten, and empty seats outnumbered filled ones at home games.

Maybe now he'll follow his pop to ESPN. There, he wouldn't have to do much to eclipse Bobby, who has trouble putting consecutive coherent sentences together.

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