|After thinking about it over the weekend, Bob Knight decided to step away from coaching. (Tony Gutierrez/Associated Press)|
LUBBOCK, Texas - Bob Knight left when he wanted to this time.
Eight years after he was fired by Indiana, the school he led to three national championships, Knight walked away yesterday from college basketball in midseason.
The Texas Tech coach, known as much for his brilliance as his fiery temper, abruptly resigned and handed over the team to his son.
"He's ready," successor Pat Knight said during his weekly radio show. "He's tired."
It was a stunning midseason move by the winningest men's coach in major college basketball, who gave no hint a change was coming. Pat Knight, a Red Raiders assistant, was appointed his father's successor in 2005.
"There's a transition that's going to take place here from me to Pat and I've dwelt on this all year long . . . how it would be best for him and for the team and for what we can do in the long run to make this the best thing for Texas Tech," Knight told the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal, which first reported the resignation.
The 67-year-old Knight informed Texas Tech athletic director Gerald Myers of his decision in a meeting around noon yesterday, Texas Tech chancellor Kent Hance said. Knight then called Hance and told him.
"I think Bob is through with coaching. I think he got to the point where it wasn't fun for him," Hance said. "He thought about it Sunday all day and talked to his wife and decided 'This is something I want to do.' "
Myers said Knight told the team before yesterday's practice.
The Red Raiders beat Oklahoma State, 67-60, Saturday, giving Knight his 902d victory. He earned his 900th last month against Texas A&M.
"I guess you can never be surprised at some of the things Bob does," former UCLA coach John Wooden said. "I don't think there's ever been a better teacher of the game of basketball than Bob. I don't always approve of his methods, but his players for the most part are very loyal to him. I would say that no player that ever played for him would not say he did not come out a stronger person."
Knight has been a college coach for 42 seasons. He broke in at Army in 1965, but made his mark in 29 years at Indiana, including a perfect season in 1976 that hasn't been duplicated.
In September, Knight signed a three-year contract extension that ran through the 2011-12 season.
"I didn't know, I've never really known when I was going to step down from this job. As I thought about it, my first thought was at the end of this season," Knight told the Lubbock paper. "My thinking was . . . the best thing for the long run for this team would be for Pat and his staff to coach these remaining 10 games."
"Today was the most relaxed and relieved I've seen him in a long time," Pat Knight said during his show. "He thought about doing it a year ago but he didn't want people to think he was just staying for the record. So he kind of pushed himself to go one more year."