Bob Knight's chair-throwing antics and memorable tirades have earned him a reputation for being surly and stubborn, so it was refreshing to see the legendary ex-Indiana coach show his seldom-seen sensitive side.
Not long after Lamar coach Pat Knight's team secured an NCAA tournament bid with a win over McNeese State in Saturday's Southland Conference title game, ESPN's Brent Musburger asked Bob Knight for his thoughts on his son's accomplishment. An emotional Knight appeared to get a bit choked up as he spoke about how proud he was of his son.
"I've been in basketball for almost 50 years now," Knight said, "and I think that may be the nicest day I've ever had in basketball today."
The accomplishment for Pat Knight was especially significant because of the criticism he has taken in recent years.
Awarded the chance to succeed his father at Texas Tech in 2008, Knight went 50-61 in three-plus seasons and later admitted he wasn't ready for that job. He accepted the job at Lamar last spring and flew mostly under the radar nationally until a heated postgame rant last month criticizing the effort and character of his seniors brought unwanted attention to the program.
Many wondered how Lamar's senior class would respond after Knight labeled them the worst group of seniors he has ever had, but so far the coach's calculated gamble appears to be paying off. The rant has become a source of motivation for the Cardinals, propelling them to six straight wins, their first 20-win season since 1988 and an NCAA tournament berth.
In an interview with ESPN's College GameDay on Sunday morning, Pat Knight was asked about his father's reaction to his achievement.
"He's probably thinking what took me so long," the coach joked. "You always want to make your father proud. I know I probably didn't do that at Tech, so it's nice to do that now."
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