When I saw the news that Bob Knight quit at Texas Tech, I thought back to last year’s NCAA tournament. I was covering the Winston-Salem pod, where Texas Tech played Boston College.
As a young journalist, I was gassed because I got to attend a Bob Knight press conference. Also, I wasn’t really covering the Texas Tech game, so I didn’t have to worry about him playing me crazy on my question. He held court, but it wasn’t really a life-changing experience. It was, however, interesting to see that even Bob Ryan was a little bit nervous about dealing with Knight.
Oh, and Bobby said that a game his team played made him want to tell his son to go and get a shotgun. I don’t recall whom he thought needed to be shot.
But when Texas Tech was losing to Boston College–largely because his team played horrendous defense against BC’s flex–Knight was glued to hi chair. There was no energy coming from him. It was hard to tell whether he had mellowed or was just out of gas. Jeff Goodman was there, and he noticed the same things. Wrote a column about it, I believe.
The presser after that was pretty tired, to be honest. He looked tired. A couple of times, he tried to assert a measure of smart-assed control, but no one in the room seemed interested enough that they would care who was in charge of the discussion.
I’ve got no idea why Knight quit, but I can’t help but think he just didn’t want to do this any more. If that’s the case, I can’t knock him. He started young, and he’s doing it as he approaches three score and ten. The day will come when you’ve had enough. Most recently, it came from Lefty Driessel, who caught a bad cold and subsequently realized it was time to retire. Those are the breaks, especially in that presser-cooker of a job.