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Archive for Friday, February 7, 2003

Knight looks past milestone

Texas Tech coach not dwelling on win No. 800

February 7, 2003

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— Bob Knight's office telephone started ringing early Thursday with friends calling to congratulate the Texas Tech coach on career win No. 800.

But Knight had already moved beyond that victory. In fact, not long after the Red Raiders beat Nebraska, 75-49, Wednesday night, Knight had shifted his focus to improving his team's standing in the Big 12 Conference.

Tech, at 3-4 in the conference and 13-5 overall, still has to face Big 12 powerhouses No. 3 Texas and No. 12 Kansas.

"I didn't want to be that way, I didn't expect to be that way, and I don't like being that way," Knight said of the Red Raiders' conference mark.

"We can play with an awful lot of people right now, but we don't have much margin for error. We can't make mistakes. We've got to play better than really good teams have to play."

Texas Tech, tied for fifth in the conference, will face No. 21 Missouri on Sunday in Columbia, Mo.

Knight joined three other Division One men's coaches with 800 victories: Dean Smith of North Carolina (879), Adolph Rupp of Kentucky (876) and Mount St. Mary's Jim Phelan (827).

With Phelan set to retire after this season, Knight, who has a career record of 800-303, would become the active leader.

Texas Tech players congratulate coach Bob Knight, center, after
Knight became the fourth NCAA Division One men's coach to record
800 victories. Knight hit the milestone with a 75-49 victory
Wednesday over Nebraska in Lubbock, Texas.

Texas Tech players congratulate coach Bob Knight, center, after Knight became the fourth NCAA Division One men's coach to record 800 victories. Knight hit the milestone with a 75-49 victory Wednesday over Nebraska in Lubbock, Texas.

Knight has been a head coach for 37 years at three Division One schools. He got his 100th victory at Army, then moved to Indiana, where his Hoosiers went 662-239 and won three national championships from 1971-2000.

Smith, who says he doesn't get to talk to his longtime friend as often as he'd like, was not one of the many to phone Knight's office Thursday.

"Everybody else will be calling him now," Smith said.

Smith understands where Knight's attention is now.

"I think his mind is on this next game, I guarantee you that," he said

Knight is optimistic about his team's potential.

"These kids, I think, have proven that over two years that they can play with a lot of teams," Knight said. "We've also proven ... that we can have problem with a lot of teams, too.

"I just want to see us get to a point where every time we go out there, there's going to be a chance to win."

Knight touched on a number of topics at his postgame news conference Wednesday night.

He said he wanted to remain in coaching at Texas Tech until "we're really good," or until he believes that isn't possible.

He also spoke fondly about his 30-year friendship with Smith, his experience as a player going against Rupp's Kentucky team and Phelan's longevity.

"Jimmy Phelan has been in basketball longer than God's been around," Knight said. "And I'm sure he touched an awful lot of people."

Knight also paid tribute to two other coaches: Fred Taylor, his coach at Ohio State, and Tech athletic director Gerald Myers.

"I think my all-time favorite coach is the one I played for, and my next one is the one that I work for now," Knight said. "I had a great guy to get started with in college basketball and I've got a great guy to wind up with in college basketball."

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