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Knight poised to tie Smith's win record

December 24, 2006|From the Associated Press

LUBBOCK, TEXAS — Bob Knight talks to his son every day about coaching.

It isn't always about offense, defense or even recruiting. Sometimes it's about dealing with a particular player or the media.

But one topic they discussed last season surprised Pat Knight, who will take over at Texas Tech whenever his father retires.

"Believe it or not, my use of language," said the younger Knight, noting the irony of the conversation given his father's penchant for spewing expletives. "He just brought it up."

Since his father arrived at Texas Tech in 2001, Pat Knight has been taking notes, literally. Bob Knight suggested his son keep a notebook and jot down coaching tidbits and inspirational fodder to motivate players.

But the learning began years earlier.

"I think it really started when I played for him at Indiana," said Pat Knight, who played for the Hoosiers from 1991-95. "But it's been even better being a coach."

It's not all sweetness, though. Sometimes their discussions turn into head-butting sessions.

"It gets heated at times, but at least we get all our ideas on the table," Pat Knight said. "We each want to get our point across."

The senior Knight, looking to tie Dean Smith as the all-time winningest Division I men's coach with 879 victories, downplayed the help he gives his son, other assistants and players.

"I just teach them the little I know and hope it helps them become better," Bob Knight said.

Texas Tech Athletic Director Gerald Myers, who brought Knight to West Texas after he was fired from Indiana University, said the father and son work well together.

"I think it's been good for Bob," Myers said. "I can't imagine any of his former assistants having more input or influence than [Pat] has as far as game preparation and recruiting."

Bob Knight's knowledge has been amassed through 41 years of coaching. During that time he has won three national championships, 11 Big Ten titles and an Olympic gold medal in 1984. This month he took over the No. 2 spot on the victory list from Kentucky legend Adolph Rupp, who held the No. 1 spot for 25 years until Smith, who coached his entire career at North Carolina, topped him in 1997.

Knight has garnered headlines for his accomplishments and for his volatile temper. His disdain for reporters, the media in general, is well-known. He's talked about it that too, Pat Knight said.

"It's amazing the different aspects he talks to me about," like "dealing with the press better than he has," the younger Knight said.

When they're on the bench, there have been moments when Pat Knight bounds up just after his father when he looks as if he's about to unleash his well-known temper. Pat Knight tries to calm him, the son said.

"You got to," Pat Knight said. "If I didn't do it no telling what would happen."

Some say the time at Tech is a second chance for father and son to spend time together. Before his divorce in 1986, Bob Knight was often on the road. After the split, Pat Knight lived with his mother.

"It's a great opportunity to have a relationship with his kids, a second opportunity, and in a different way too," said Steve Downing, who played for Knight at Indiana and is an associate athletic director at Texas Tech. "I don't think you can put a price on that type of relationship."

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