Monday, January 01, 2007
Erik Kuselias said it well on ESPN Radio’s the Dan Patrick show. Bobby Knight promises his universities (full disclosure: the writer’s alma mater among them) three things. First, the players will be student-athletes and graduate at a rate the university can be proud of, second, the program absolutely will not bribe, steal, cheat when recruiting, and third, the program will win. To this list the Clarion would add a fourth, Coach Knight will raise lots of money for the university’s academic facilities.
That is a pretty good list; Coach Knight makes no promises about his methods, other than their integrity, no promises about his temper, his cursing, his violence. As the Clarion has long held, like boot camp, it is not a methodology that is successful for everybody, nor that everyone should or would want to send their children through, however, for some, it will be the best training in life’s skills they can ever go through. It will teach and inspire them to levels they never would have otherwise attained. During the Texas Tech-UNLV game last week, one of Coach Knight’s former Army players was interviewed, a retired Lieutenant Colonel. The Colonel reminded interviewer Andy Katz that when Coach Knight lead the Army basketball program, most, if not all, of his graduating senior athletes were going directly to Vietnam. The Colonel said Coach Knight imparted lessons in thorough, proper preparation that undoubtedly eventually saved lives in the field. In the same telecast Dick Vitale shared memories of a letter from a soldier in the Nam that said essentially the same thing. Bob Knight would tell you that those lessons, and the countless other lessons he imparted to so many other young people were far more important than any of his 880 wins. That ethic says it all.