Dec. 4, 2001
ESPN's Dick Vitale interviewed Texas Tech coach Bob Knight for the Sunday Conversation that aired Dec. 2. Following is a transcript of that interview.
Dick Vitale: I've known you through tough times, the year you were out of coaching ... and I sense now the tone of your voice is so different, that you're happy, that it's back to the early years at Indiana ... because I thought the last five years at Indiana you seemed angry.
Bob Knight: I think (Texas Tech athletics director) Gerald Myers summed it up best when he was (told) ... it seems like Bob has changed, it seems like Bob is -- the usual word is "relaxed" -- and (Gerald) said, "No, no, wait a minute ... I didn't hire him to change, I hired him for what he is." He said the change is in the atmosphere. It's in the people around Bob now. ... I've told you before, the person I have to blame most for being unhappy at Indiana is me. I mean, I didn't have to stay. And I tried to stay through some things basically for some wrong reasons. I just had a guy call me yesterday about the same type of thing, and I said when you get to a point where you're not happy with the people you're dealing with in your situation, you've got to get out of it. And I said, "Trust me, I've been there."
"The person I have to blame most for being unhappy at Indiana is me. I mean, I didn't have to stay."
Vitale: I know you from your days at West Point and Indiana. There is no one out there who wants to win as much as you ... bottom line, can you maintain the same standards of excellence here at Texas Tech that you had at Indiana?
Knight: Well, standards in what regard?
Vitale: National championships.
Knight: I don't know. We hadn't won a national championship (at Indiana) since 1987. ... The thing you have to keep in mind, whether it's you talking about it or me thinking about it, is that there have only been maybe 40 coaches -- not even that many, I would say only 35 coaches -- who have ever won the NCAA championship and probably fewer schools than that. Probably only 30 schools have ever won the national championship.
Vitale: Let's forget about the national championship -- what about the Big 12 title? When you look at the Big 12 right now, it's probably the toughest it's ever been ... I know that was your primary goal in the Big Ten; you won 11 Big Ten titles.
Knight: I think that's always the goal when you're in a conference, and yet I didn't know whether we could ever win at Indiana or not -- and we wound up winning more during a given period of time than anyone ever did. Whether we win one here or not, I don't know. My objective is always to play as well as we can play, and then whatever happens happens. And I think with our team, if we play as well as we can play, we're going to be pretty competitive with most people ... (so far) we've been really good, then we've been not so good, and then we've been bad -- we lack some consistency to be a good basketball team, but I think the potential at least is there.
Vitale: What about personnel? Can you recruit the kind of personnel (you had) at Indiana? I think of Scott May, Kent Benson, Quinn Buckner, Isiah Thomas and all those great players -- can you recruit that kind of player at Texas Tech?
Knight: Oh, I really think right now that we have better talent on our team.
Vitale: Wow, really?
Knight: Right now, (better) than I had the last five or six years at Indiana. Now, there is no way to compare that, but I try to do it in my mind, and I watch a kid ... is he quicker, is he stronger? Does he shoot better, does he do whatever? With what we have right now, and who we've played against so far, and the things we've done ... I've seen us in stretches play very well. (And) I know through experience that we could be playing against anybody in the country and we would be playing very well. This is a beautiful campus. Lubbock is a great city, an unbelievable place to play. I think recruiting will come very well for us. We're pleased with the kids we got last year. We got a couple of kids last year in April and May that are going to be very good players in this league. We've got three kids coming in next year that we're really pleased with, and then we've got juniors that have a real interest in coming here. So I think recruiting is going to be very good here.
Vitale:Staying with recruiting, have you changed your philosophy a little bit ... it seems like you're going to go more with junior college players -- will that affect you?
Knight: I don't think so ... I think altogether we had 11 junior college graduates play for us at Indiana. ... Last year we ended up with three high school kids and four junior college kids total, and we've signed three kids this year -- two high school kids and one junior college player. I think we've had a really good relationship with junior college coaches because of how well kids have done that have played for us in the past. ... You've gotta keep in mind, just here in our state, you've got a bunch of teams playing basketball. You've got SMU, Texas, Baylor, Texas A&M, Tech, UTEP and a lot of schools here -- and we're in the middle of an area where a lot of kids go to junior college. So I think we'll always have a real interest in the junior college player here.
Vitale: OK, I'm one of the five best (high school players). Everybody wants me, and I want to play for you. But I tell you I'm only going to come for one year 'cause I'm going to the NBA. Can you take me?
Knight: That depends on what I think of you as a player ... I'd really have to give that a lot of thought. I can't tell you ... that I would do that, because consistency with returning players is very important in the way we play ... I would tell you, if you were that good, I'd have to think about that for a little bit.
"I don't think there's really been anything wrong with my style."
Vitale: I'd be different (as a coach) because I'd say I'd want him for that one year. But the trend with kids coming out early is obviously creating a problem. But a bigger problem (arose) recently when John Chaney was absolutely furious over a fax that came from the University of Cincinnati's basketball staff (that criticized Chaney). Do you get a lot of negative recruiting?
Knight: I really believe this -- if John wanted to get upset for a day at all the assistants that negatively recruit, John wouldn't have a happy day in the next three years. Because that's a part of recruiting. That's a part of the way a lot of people go about it.
Vitale: Why do guys have to go that route?
Knight: I don't understand that ... I never have.
Vitale: When you go up to a (recruit's) home and somebody is recruiting against you, what are they saying?
Knight: How tough I am to play for. How hard I am to play for, without ever having played for me. Without ever probably having been to a practice. It just seems like some of these guys have heard this.
Vitale: You've told me it sort of felt like you hit a home run with kids if you could walk in and sell what you had to offer: graduating players, doing things the right way, never cheating ...
Knight: What I would come in and do is to say, this is what we have. Here's our graduation rate. Here's our number of players that have gone on to the NBA. Now here's a list of of people to call. Mothers, fathers, kids, you call them -- and if you can find someone better than we are in these areas, then that's where you ought to go. Now here's a legitimate thing I think (you can do) in recruiting -- if I'm recruiting your son and your son is interested in us and four (other) schools, what I would do and what I think anybody should do is to simply say, "Mr. Vitale, Mrs. Vitale, here's a list of the rosters of the four schools that your son is interested in. I really believe that he has a better chance to play with us than anybody else, because each of these schools has at least five kids that play like Dick Jr. plays, and if you look at ours we have two." Now that's something I think you should consider. That's a fact. That's out there. But ... this school hasn't been to the NCAA Tournament (so) I don't think you say we've been to the Tournament "x" number of times. "Mrs. Vitale, you're really interested in education -- check our academic record for graduation against anybody else's."
Vitale: I really don't blame John Chaney. When I read the article about that fax, it was absolutely brutal. Because it was not only ripping John but other coaches as well -- Bill Self, Matt Doherty ... I just don't see that as part of the recruiting cycle, and guys gotta jump on that -- and I'm glad Bob Huggins did.
Knight: That's a big factor ... I don't think you can even comprehend the amount of negative recruiting that goes on out there.
Vitale: With all that you went through in terms of the controversy (at Indiana), have you changed at all in practice? Have you changed your style at all?
Knight: I don't think so. I don't think there's really been anything wrong with my style. I mean, I think that ...
Vitale: Well, you do admit that there are some things in your life that you are, like, wow, why did I do that?
Knight: How about your life?
Vitale: I've made a lot of mistakes.
Knight: Me too. So you try to learn from that ...
Vitale: So you have learned?
Knight: Well, I would hope so. I hope I learn from things in 1960.
Vitale: You've learned from the year sitting out?
Knight: I would hope so. I think I learned some things. I would hope anybody would.
Vitale: I think you have mellowed ...
Knight: Well, again, maybe that's the change of environment. Maybe that's the change in the people I'm working with ...
Vitale: I think that's happiness.
Knight: Yeah, because I'm happy I'm working for an athletic director that understands athletics. That I'm working for a guy that you know you can count on for support. And the same thing in the whole staff. And a president that's a first-rate individual. Not some guy who has his own personal agenda that takes precedence over anything that's good for a university. I think that it's just like your situation. You've been a longtime really, really good person for college basketball.
Vitale: I appreciate that.
Knight: You have been, that's a fact. OK now, all of a sudden the administration at ESPN puts you in a position where you are more concerned about them than you are about doing your job, and now pretty soon you've gotta go to ABC or NBC or somebody else.
Vitale: Well I'm with ABC, too (laughs).
Knight: I understand that, but that's what I wasn't smart enough to do. I mean, you were mentioning recruiting. In all the time that I was at Indiana with the teams we had, when we won the national championships, the Big Ten championships, the thing that's kind of interesting is that we only had one player who played in an NBA All-Star game. With all that we won, only one, and that was Isiah Thomas. So when you asked about recruiting here, I think our recruiting here will be great -- I mean, I don't think we need five McDonald's All-Americans.
Vitale: Let me tell you why I think you've changed, too. I've called you right after you've lost (before), and I called you after the Sam Houston State loss. We spoke on the phone -- you had a 19-point lead in the first half, lead disappears, you lose the game. I think the Bob Knight of old would've reacted differently than you did. Now tell me if I'm right in what I heard: I heard you were in practice the next day with a graph breaking down your team's performance in the second half of the first four games, taking that graph and showing them how they haven't come out focused and how they slipped after the first four minutes of the second half. And in the next two games, against Texas El Paso and New Mexico State, you had great performances in the second half. True or false?
"Mike Krzyzewski, for the last, oh, 10 or 11 years, has been the absolute pinnacle of college basketball."
Knight: Yeah, that happened, but that wasn't right after the game Saturday night, I can tell you that.
Vitale: No, it was at practice.
Knight: I would do that no matter what. If you go back over my history as a coach, we haven't lost very many games after a tough loss. We've bounced back pretty well. You see, I think you have to look at that before you can draw any conclusions. I would be willing to bet that we have a tremendously high winning percentage of games played after what you would consider a tough loss.
Vitale: You have a high percentage no matter what.
Knight: I understand that.
Vitale: Well, 700 wins ...
Knight: I'm just saying that with that given incident, I think that you will find it was a really tough loss for us because a team that played better than we played won the game -- you've coached, well, at three different levels, so you know what that's all about. I mean, there are some losses you just walk away from.
Vitale: In practice (now), are you as demonstrative as when you were at Indiana? ... Has that changed for you?
Knight: No, I really don't think so. I think that a coach's responsibility first and foremost is to give all of himself that he can to his players. In whatever way he thinks is going to get those players to do the very best they can do with their lives -- and if that's going out on a limb and getting on a kid during the game or in front of national television, if that's that coach's decision, then I think that he has to do that. Instead of sitting back and saying, well, we're on national television, I don't want to say anything to Jimmy. Now is the time to tell Jimmy. Now is the time to tell Jimmy he's missed the guy in the post two times in a row. You've gotta get the ball in to him or I'm going to bring you out. I mean, different people look at it in different ways. I have never really paid much attention to whatever media consequences might be relative to when I thought something had to be done ... for this kid or for this situation or for this team.
Vitale: Has the Texas Tech administration put any checks and balances on you? You have to do this, you have to do that?
Knight: I go back to Gerald Myers' comment. Gerald Myers is such a relief for me and such a change from what I had in the last eight or nine years at Indiana in terms of an athletic director. I mean, it's like substituting General MacArthur for Sergeant Bilko ... and I go back to what Gerald said: I didn't hire Bob to change, I hired Bob for what he is. I hired Bob for the kind of coach he is. I hired Bob for what he's done academically. I don't want Bob to change. I want Bob to be Bob, that's what I want. And that's a major factor in my coming here.
Vitale: But ... you'll agree that there are some areas where you had to change. That you went after some players, the media, at press conferences. You told me -- you said, hey, I'm going to treat the media totally different from what I did on occasions at Indiana.
Knight: I've said that many times to myself over the years, and that's like a New Year's resolution sometimes.
Vitale: How have you been with the media? How have things worked out?
Knight: I've tried to be honest with them. The media doesn't really have much of a sense of humor, as far as they're concerned. You know that as well as I do, 'cause you've mentioned that. The media doesn't understand, they can stick it to you any way they want to, but boy, when you come back at them, it's like ...
Vitale: But there are some great guys out there.
Knight: Sure there are -- nobody has better friends in the media than I do. As an example, name one great broadcaster that has worked television on any network in the last 25 years, and you can't name one that isn't a good friend of mine.
Vitale: I did a game the other day, Iowa and Duke -- there is one common denominator in the game: You got Coach K on one side, you got Steve Alford on the other side. Rick Telander, the outstanding writer for the Chicago Sun-Times, does an article about the new generals. He asked them what they learned playing for you. If there was one word that stood out in that article that both utilized when describing what they received from Bob Knight, what do you think it would be?
Knight: I'm not sure what it would be. I would hope it would be something that would deal with honest intensity. I hope it would deal something with care for what they are as players and what they have become, because they were players in a system that I've been with. I would hope it would be something that they could look at and take in their lives and utilize in their own coaching careers.
"I wasn't going to coach in the Taj Mahal with an athletic director or president like I had worked for at Indiana over the past five years."
Vitale: The word they used was passion. Such a love for what you were doing -- and also they talked about your preparation, your unbelievable preparation for an opponent. ... I know it was also very touching when you received a call from Coach K to present him at the national Basketball Hall of Fame. What was that feeling like?
Knight: There's nobody that has appreciated what players have done more than I have over the years, because that's been my ultimate objective, to send this kid out to be able to be a real contributor to society, to his family, a real representative of the teams that he's played on that I've coached. And no one really has epitomized that more than Mike has in the profession that he's been in. Mike for the last, oh, 10 or 11 years has been the absolute pinnacle of college basketball ... and so his being selected to the Hall of Fame was a great honor for Mike and the kids that have played for him and ...
Vitale:And for you, too.
Knight: Well ...
Vitale: You coached him. He said that you changed his life when you entered his house in Chicago. You were straightforward with him the way you dealt with him at West Point. And it hurt me that -- because I love both of you guys, people know that I'm a friend of yours and I'm a friend of Mike's -- (when) you guys didn't talk for a long time. So it had to be touching when that phone rang and he says, "Coach, I want you to present me at the national Hall of Fame."
Knight: Well, it certainly was, and I appreciated it very much, the thought behind why he asked me to do that -- and then I enjoyed that as much as anything I've done in a long, long time. I enjoyed it because there is nobody around today who knows Mike, other than his family, who knows Mike like I did. I mean, here's a kid who came from the south-central side of Chicago, or the near central part of Chicago, who wasn't even thinking about going to West Point or coaching, and now he's become as good as there is. So I look at that and feel really good for him. And I felt great about being a part of what is a tremendous accomplishment and honor for him to receive.
Vitale: Here you are growing up as a kid in Ohio. You go to Ohio State. You play with superstars, Jerry Lucas, John Havlicek -- I don't know how much you played or carried their bags, but you were there ...
Knight: I played a little bit more than you thought I did ...
Vitale: The bottom line is, here it is now ... there are many successful coaches, but there aren't many guys who are going to have a movie on their life. Your feelings about that?
Knight: I really don't know, because I never really discussed it with anybody. I really have no idea ...
Vitale: You know who is playing your part? Brian Dennehy.
Knight: Yeah, somebody sent me an article on that.
Vitale: Outstanding, outstanding actor.
Knight: I've enjoyed Brian Dennehy. In fact, if I see he's in a movie, I usually go because I like the roles he plays. I like the way he plays roles. I think he's a guy that I would really enjoy being around, just trying to judge him from being in the movies. But I know absolutely nothing about (the movie). Your network has never come to me about it, never asked me a thing about it -- so I'm totally in the dark about the movie. I have no idea.
Vitale: But you're happy about the selection of him to play your part?
Knight: Well, I really enjoy what I've seen of the guy. I've never met the guy ...
Vitale: Invite him to a Texas Tech game, put him next to you on the bench. You can work that out. You know the right people here.
Knight: What I think I'll do is put him next to you the next time you come in to broadcast.
Vitale: You were supposed to go to Indiana to play, Texas Tech-Indiana (but it was called off). After 29 years in the red sweater, you walking out, it was always a special feeling -- Bloomington, Assembly Hall -- in fact, I find it shocking to think I'm even interviewing you as the coach of Texas Tech ... I thought your career would end at Indiana. ... What do you think the reaction would be if you walked in that building?
Knight: I have no idea, and I wasn't even involved in the whole thing. We were told here that the Indiana president had made comments back there, and I was told by people who heard the comments that they were not going to play Texas Tech in any kind of basketball game.
Vitale: So you would've liked to have gone back?
Knight: I didn't care. It didn't make any difference to me ...
Vitale: But you didn't cancel the agreement?
Knight: No, no, not at all. ... Actually, when we were talking about me coming here to coach, Gerald asked, how would you feel about going back to Indiana to play? And I said I really don't care one way or the other. That's no big deal for me and it never was.
Vitale: Now, talking about Indiana, there have been reports in the paper that you are suing the university. Why not just walk away and say, I'm done, I'm starting a new life? Clarify that if there's no validity to it.
Knight: I have never entered into any suit whatsoever against Indiana University. To this point. None. I'm sitting watching ESPN SportsCenter ... your favorite show, with some inaccurate reporting from time to time -- how about letting that stay in this when you edit it?
"A coach's responsibility first and foremost is to give all of himself that he can to his players."
Vitale: That won't stay.
Knight: But I'm sitting there watching SportsCenter, and all of a sudden the band across the bottom says, "Bob Knight sues Indiana University." Well, what my attorney did was send a letter to Indiana that was required by Indiana state law within six months after my being fired for us to retain the right to sue if at any time in the future we felt we had to do so. That's it. I mean, if we (talked about) erroneous reporting on things we would have a series out of this that would last for the next 10 years and take an hour every night. That was just one simple thing that was reported erroneously, totally.
Vitale: I remember, when you coached at West Point, going to clinics -- I'm a young coach, though. I'm a young high school coach in New Jersey, and I'm writing notes down: ball-you-man, defense, all the theories that you teach. You have a wealth of knowledge, we all know that in the world of basketball. What disappoints me now, I don't see Bob Knight out there in these clinics sharing this unbelievable knowledge with all these young coaches. Why? You got a little distasteful about all of that for a reason. Why?
Knight: I did that for years. Nobody spoke at more clinics and was paid less for doing it than I was. I thought, I think I've fulfilled my obligation there. I think now, if if people want to see what we do, come here. I've never turned down coaches ever wanting to come and watch us practice and sit through a practice, or if we have tickets available to come to a game. I've put things out in very inexpensive materials for people to buy tapes or whatever. ... I'm not sure what I've had to give, but I do believe this. I don't think any coach ever has worked harder to share what he has with other coaches than I have. And now there are other things ... (so) let somebody else do that. Let other guys get involved with that part. I got too many fishing rods sitting at home that I gotta use and keep them active, keep them alive -- I don't want them dying on me.
Vitale: You mentioned fishing and hunting, which you love ... (once) you went hunting and you called me up, you told me about it -- with the king of Spain, General Schwarzkopf and the former President Bush. What's going through your mind, as a young guy growing up in Ohio, and here you are on a plane and you're as popular as all of those people ...
Knight: (On that trip), a guy walked up to me while I was standing next to a fence post and said, "Coach, you must remember the king is to your right." And I looked down to the king, and I looked at where the birds are going to come from, and I know the message is that when birds come between the king and me I am not supposed to shoot at those birds.
Vitale: You got a phone call after (you were) fired at Indiana. That's not a nice feeling -- I got fired, I know that feeling, it's a very empty feeling. You find out who your real friends are at that time as well. But you got a phone call from Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas. What did he share with you?
Knight: Clarence Thomas has been a friend for several years. The first time he called me was to simply tell me he had carried a quote attributed to me. Actually, it was a paraphrase of something Bud Wilkinson had told me years and years ago. Carried it around in his billfold for 10 years, and he just wanted me to know it. Now this is after he had been placed on the Supreme Court, and the quote was, "The will to prepare to win is much more important than the will to win." I talked to Justice Thomas that first time, and then I've been in Washington a time or two and we've eaten lunch and talked about things. And when the thing happened back there, I got calls from several people and was kind of amused by the calls I didn't get from some people, too, as you kind of indicated. But one that I got was from Justice Thomas, and it was just simply, hey, there are a lot of people out here that care about you and a lot of people that you can really count on. And he said, I'm certainly one of them. That meant a lot to me, as did calls from a lot of other people.
Vitale: I just read a quote recently (about being a great loser). It is so difficult. It's the toughest thing to do, to be a great loser. Do you buy that?
Knight: Let me tell you what a great loser is.
Vitale: I know how much you hate to lose.
Knight: No, no, let me tell you what a great loser is. That's a guy who can come back and win the next time. That's a guy who can come back and put it aside. It's not necessarily his behavior at the moment of having lost. It's easy for me to say that was really a good game. I can say that, and for the most part I always have said that in games that we have lost. But ... I'm not a very good loser because I put far more emotion and stress into losing then I ever did from winning a game. Yet on the other hand, I think that's one reason why, as I mentioned earlier, that our record after having lost is pretty good over the years -- because it's not something I want to see happen again.
Vitale: I had the pleasure one time to go on an IU recruiting trip with you (to visit) Damon Bailey. We came back, and I knew you were an absolute nervous wreck about the game the next night. You said to me, "Dick, this is unbelievable, I'm worried about our execution." I said, "How? You're a Hall of Famer, you've gotta be kidding me." ... Do you still have that same butterflies? The same tension? The same worries?
Knight: Hey, If I was retired and I was coaching a sixth-grade team, I'd be worried about how we were going to execute. I think that's my efficiency, my effectiveness being displayed to a degree there -- so I want to do everything I can to not only help these kids be the best they can be but to see that my approach to this game that's on display is being run very efficiently.
Vitale: You always feel that it's a personal affront to you if your game plan isn't executed and you come out with a loss, when sometimes there's something called talent that prevails.
Knight: But beyond that -- like I'll give you a classic example. The other night in the New Mexico State game, we have a two-shot foul. And I tell the official, a really good official, by the way, I said, "Dan, I want a timeout if we make the first one." We missed the first one. And I look at him and he said, "Do you still want a timeout if he makes this one?" I think and I hesitate and I just (thought), they have no timeouts left and I say, "No, let it go." Well, that was a real mistake, because New Mexico State reacted extremely well -- only a team that's been coached well can do this. They get a pass down that we don't cover and actually get a shot off -- now it's a shot we had decent pressure on, but it can still go in. So I made a mistake. Had we lost that game, I would have really been upset with myself for having not called the timeout. I don't call a timeout when we're on offense in a crucial situation because I think we've done enough things. The greatest compliment I think I ever got came from one of my closest friends and maybe the greatest broadcaster of all time, Curt Gowdy, when we're playing Syracuse in the '87 national championship and we get the ball back with about 27 seconds to go and we're one point down. And Keith Smart hits the shot on a great pass from Darryl Thomas and we win. Curt was at the bench almost immediately after the game was over and he put his arm around me, and he said, "You're the only coach I've ever known that would not have taken a timeout under those circumstances." Defensively, we should. So there's something I can look back and say, hey, we prepared as well as we did. We didn't shoot well. Even if it was something like we didn't block out, we gotta do that better. I think where I have the greatest problem is when I think I've shortchanged the players. Like that would've been the case the other night had (we lost) and I hadn't taken the timeout. I've set everybody where they should be and they still score, then we've lost the game, let's go. I expect a lot out of them, but I want them to get more from me than I expect from them.
"I have never really paid much attention to whatever media consequences there might be relative to when I thought something had to be done."
Vitale: You are (just over 100) wins away from one of the greatest achievements: Dean Smith's 879 wins. If you do what you did at Indiana -- average about 23-24 wins a year -- that'd take you about five years. You got five more years in you?
Knight: I really don't know, that's never really entered my mind ...
Vitale: It's gotta be something you think about.
Knight: No, really, it isn't ... I have never felt that winning defines coaching. One of the best coaches I've ever known is Hank Egan -- he's an assistant coach with the San Antonio Spurs now ... Hank never won a national championship, but he was a great basketball coach. Bob Boyd was another one. Don Donoher was another one. These guys did not win national championships, yet they were far better coaches then some coaches I know who have won national championships. So I don't think it's the number of games you win. I think what defines a coach is, No. 1, what his players who have played for him and completed eligibility for him think of him. No. 2, what he has done with the talent he has had available. And No. 3, how he has treated the game of basketball while he was a coach.
Vitale: How many offers did you have (after Indiana)? And what made you say, wow, I love it here at Texas Tech? Did you have any other offers?
Knight: Oh, yeah ...
Knight: No, no. That's no one's business but mine. The first thing for me (in saying yes to Texas Tech) was Gerald Myers, and the second thing was David Smedley, the president here. The third thing was the community of Lubbock, the university community. The facility didn't enter into it. I wasn't going to coach in the Taj Mahal with an athletic director or president like I had worked for at Indiana over the past five years. That just wasn't going to happen. I was going to coach for somebody that had a real appreciation and a real understanding of what went into coaching and building a program and had no ulterior motives and had no private agendas. And I'm certainly not alone in my feeling about that back there ... (my wife) Karen was with me when I talked to people from the other major institution. And Karen happened to be sitting behind the people and I glanced at her after about five minutes and Karen was sitting there like this (shakes head no).
Vitale: You won't tell us the school?
Knight: No, no ... I had not decided that I would go back into coaching, but ...
"I expect a lot out of my players, but I want them to get more from me than I expect from them."
Vitale: Could you have walked away without coaching again?
Knight: I would have. Now what it would've been like, I can't answer that.
Vitale: You were unhappy, Bob. I saw you that year (when you weren't coaching). We went to dinner several times.
Knight: Naaah. I was pretty good then, played a lot of golf.
Vitale: You played a lot of golf, but you were unhappy that you were not in a gym teaching.
Vitale: You love being in the gym teaching.
Knight: No, no, that's your interpretation.
Vitale: I know you feel you're at your best there.
Knight: But I had made up my mind that I wasn't going to coach to coach. I was going to coach in a situation where No. 1, I really liked the people. Because just like Gerald said -- Gerald has known me for 32 years, and pretty closely. And Gerald said Bob hasn't changed -- I hired Bob Knight the way I've known him for 32 years. But the atmosphere has changed and the personnel around Bob has changed. ... This is a great place to live. I hate to say that on national television, because we'll have an influx of people wanting to come here, but it's really wonderful. We're sitting here on the first of December and it was 65 degrees today -- the sun shines 330 days a year, the people are great, great places to eat, hunting, fishing, easy to get around. You got here in 12 minutes from the airport. When we take you back it will be the same thing. You won't be standing in line for four hours to get out of here.
Vitale: I'm going to make you an ambassador for Lubbock.
Knight: I would like to be, because these people have been great and I really enjoy this community, as does my wife. This is as nice a place as we could've ever thought of living.
Vitale: When it's all said and done and you walk out of the gym, how do you want people to think of Bob Knight, because there are two sides -- those who love you and those who hate you. Obviously, you know that. How do you want to be remembered?
Knight: Abraham Lincoln once said that when it comes time for me to lay down the reigns of this administration and I have but one friend left and that friend resides deep within me, then I'll be satisfied.