Sports Outside the Beltway

Bobby Knight Wins 880th, Most Ever

Bob Knight is now the winningest coach in Division I college basketball history.

Bob Knight has been the game’s orneriest coach forever. Now he’s the winningest, too.

Knight earned career victory No. 880 the hard way when his Texas Tech Red Raiders blew a 20-point lead but withstood a 3-point miss at the buzzer to beat New Mexico 70-68 on Monday in a game lacking the fanfare of his first attempt.

None of Knight’s famous friends made it to West Texas to see him break the men’s Division I record he shared with former North Carolina coach Dean Smith. Steve Alford, John Havlicek and Fuzzy Zoeller were among about 30 buddies here when he tried Thursday night, but none of them stayed for a morning tipoff on New Year’s Day.

The Red Raiders (11-4) trailed 64-60 with 6:25 left, but went back ahead 70-68 on a 3-pointer by Jay Jackson with 2:04 left. Things were tense the rest of the way — including a controversial call that didn’t go in Knight’s favor — and it wasn’t until a long 3-pointer by J.R. Giddens bounced away at the buzzer that the celebration could begin.

Pat Knight, Bobby Knight’s son and successor-in-waiting, put an arm around his dad’s neck as they walked to shake hands with New Mexico coach Ritchie McKay. They looked as relieved to have won this game as to have the hoopla of the record behind them.

The crowd already was on its feet and the cheers turned louder. Knight did a television interview, then “My Way” by Frank Sinatra blared, a not-so-subtle reminder of Knight’s personal and professional credo.

Soon, red confetti fell and a ceremony began. Knight singled out Alan Voskuil, who made a key play down the stretch, then tapped the chin of forward Mike Prince, the player who Knight made contact with in a game earlier this season. He then motioned to his wife, Karen, to join him on the court.

“The first 15 minutes of the game was Karen’s game plan,” he said of his wife, a former high school coach. “The rest of it was mine, unfortunately. I just say thank you.”


Already a Hall of Famer, Knight’s overall record is 880-354 with three national championships, including a perfect season in 1976 that has yet to be duplicated. Of course, he’s just as well known for his run-ins with players, bosses, officials and others. He punched a policeman in Puerto Rico and sent a chair tumbling across a court in protest of a referee’s call.


Arizona’s Lute Olson is second among active coaches with 772 wins. But at 72, and also under contract through 2011, he is not likely to make up enough ground.

Krzyzewski has 765 wins and is 59. However, Coach K would be 64 in 2011 and might still be 100 wins behind.

Even if Knight only bumps the mark to 900, it would take 45 years of 20 wins per season to match that. At the unlikely rate of 25 wins per season, it would take 36 years.

Knight had the advantage of breaking into the business at Army when he was only 24. Hence his nickname, “The General.” While the mark is impressive, Knight admits it’s a byproduct of longevity. The ultimate standard of college basketball coaching excellence is the 10 national titles won by UCLA’s John Wooden, all in a 12-year span.

Also worth noting: Tennessee women’s coach Pat Summitt has won the most NCAA games, 925; and Harry Statham of NAIA McKendree College in Lebanon, Ill., has won the most men’s games at a four-year college, 925.

Summitt is an outstanding coach, but it’s an insult to Knight and the others to pretend that winning in the women’s game, which has until recently had zero competitive balance, is in any way comparable to what they have achieved.

I can’t imagine anyone will again be given a chance at coaching a Division I team at the age of 24, making Knight’s achievement almost impossible to equal. It’s not at all inconceivable that he will extend the record well past 900


Will AEG’s Kansas City Gamble Pay Off?

Its beginning to look as if AEG Worldwide’s $54m investment in the $276m Sprint Center may just work out. Due to open in the Fall 2007 and host the 2008 Big 12 Basketball Tournament, they may have just moved a step closer to fulfilling their goal of housing a NBA of NHL franchise. Unfortunately, this would come at the expense of the City of Pittsburgh who saw the push to keep the Penguins in the City dealt another blow.

The future of the NHL’s Pittsburgh Penguins is uncertain after Isle of Capri Casino was denied a slots licence in the state capital Wednesday.

The state’s Gaming Control Board in Harrisburg approved a licence for PITG Gaming Majestic Star of Detroit over Isle of Capri and a third bidder, Forest City Enterprises. The NHL team is expected to release a statement later in the day.

The licence was critical to the club’s survival in Pittsburgh as Isle of Capri had promised to spend US$290 million to build the Penguins an arena. The Penguins need a new rink to replace the 45-year-old Mellon Arena, the oldest facility in the NHL.

The decision comes less than a week after a deal to sell the team to Canadian billionaire Jim Balsillie fell through.

AEG has already made moves to ink a long term lease with William Del Biaggio III to own and operate an NHL team in the Sprint Center if one becomes available through expansion or relocation.

Given the current attendance struggles of the league, especially in what would be considered big hockey towns like Chicago and St. Louis, I find it hard to see the expansion occurring anytime soon. The Penguins are left with out funding or an owner to keep the team in Pittsburgh, even with assistance from the NHL trying to keep them there. With options running out, look out West as the NHL just may give AEG the chance to save the Penguins similar to when AEG took over the Kings and led them out of the disaster Bruce McNall created.


Bob Knight Signs Extension with Texas Tech Through 2012

Bob Knight has extended with Texas Tech past his 70th birthday.

Bob Knight may not just pass Dean Smith’s all-time win record; he may shatter the mark. He has agreed to a three-year extension to coach Texas Tech until 2012. The 65-year old Knight has won 869 games, 10 shy of tying former North Carolina coach Dean Smith on the all-time list.

“I just [agreed to] a three-year extension on my contract that gives me another five years to coach,” Knight told for an exclusive sitdown for ESPN360 next month. “When I was 37 I told [a reporter] I didn’t think I’d coach until I’m 40,” he said. “Well, I’m 65 and either I’m not smart enough to do something else or I like what I’m doing. I hope it’s the latter.”

Knight signed a three-year extension in 2004 that took him until 2009. Three more years were added to this deal according to Knight’s son Tim, who works in the Tech athletic department. Associate head coach Pat Knight has already been tabbed to succeed his father.

Knight is best known for being a royal pain in the ass. Still, despite his “issues,” he’s a great basketball coach and an even better teacher of young men. Indiana’s loss has very much been Tech’s gain.


Division I-AA Montana State Beats Colorado

In the 1990s, the Colorado Buffalos were a perennial national title challenger. Their collapse is now complete, having suffered an embarrasing loss to a warm-up team.

Dan Hawkins was hired to clean up a Colorado program soiled by scandal and embarrassing losses under former coach Gary Barnett. Being blown out by Texas in the Big 12 title game last year was one thing. But losing to Division I-AA Montana State 19-10 Saturday wasn’t what anybody anticipated when Hawkins brought his 92-23-1 record and positive vibes from Boise State to Boulder.

“We understand that most people here will jump on our loss, but we all find out about ourselves when we’re losing,” Hawkins said. “And in some respect, it might be a blessing. We’ve got to work a little bit harder and come together a little bit more.

“It’s only devastating if you let it be devastating.”

Instead of sweeping away the memories of last year’s four-game season-ending slide, including a 70-3 loss to Texas in the Big 12 title game, the Buffaloes left their fans fearful of a long, dreadful season after the Dan Hawkins Era began not with a bang but a bevy of goofs and gaffes.

“The only bright spot is to see how we handle it, and that’s yet to be determined,” Hawkins said after the Buffs bungled their first matchup ever with a Division I-AA team. “The bottom line is we got outcoached and we got outplayed. That’s a fact, however you try to slice and dice it.”



Eddie Sutton Retires, Replaced by Son, Sean

Eddie Sutton is retiring from coaching and turning the reins at Oklahoma State over to his son, Sean.

Oklahoma State basketball coach Eddie Sutton, 70, will announce his retirement this afternoon at a 3 p.m. ET press conference in Stillwater, ESPN has learned.

He will be replaced by his son, Sean Sutton, who has been head coach designate for the past several seasons.

Eddie Sutton coached OSU for 16 seasons. He also coached at Creighton, Arkansas and Kentucky. He was the first coach to take four different schools to the NCAA Tournament. He has coached in three Final Fours.

Sutton pleaded no contest May 5 to drunken driving charges for a traffic accident in which his SUV swerved, collided with another vehicle and then hit a tree.

Sutton, who underwent treatment for alcoholism at the Betty Ford Center in 1987 while he was coach at Kentucky, has said lingering back pain was a factor in his relapse.

“The pain at times literally has been unbearable. … The pain was so bad that I took a lot of pain pills, but that didn’t seem to work, so I succumbed to temptation and went and bought a bottle,” Sutton said in a news conference five days after the accident.

A lousy way to end a legendary career.


Texas A&M and Seattle Seahawks Settle 12th Man Dispute

The Aggies and Seahawks have settled their suit over the use of the “12th Man” moniker.

The fight over the “12th Man” is over and both Texas A&M University and the Seattle Seahawks will be able to use the phrase. The university and the Seahawks said Monday they had reached a deal settling the university’s lawsuit over the phrase reserved for fans.

As part of the agreement, the Seahawks acknowledge Texas A&M’s ownership rights of the trademarked phrase. However, the NFL team may continue using it under license. Neither side admitted any fault or liability.

The Aggies hold a federal trademark rights to the phrase “12th Man.” They wanted to halt Seattle from using the “12th Man” phrase earlier this year. In February, the university filed a lawsuit in Brazos County over the Seahawks use of the trademark. Days before Seattle faced the Pittsburgh Steelers in the Super Bowl, a restraining order was issued calling on the Seahawks to halt any usage of “12th Man,” or “12th Mania.”

Origins of the term “12th man” aren’t exactly clear, but the traditions in Seattle and College Station date back decades.

Related: Texas A&M Angry Seattle Seahawks Fans Called ‘12th Man’

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Kansas Suffers 1st Round Upset to Bradley

For the second straight season, Kansas was upset in the opening round of the NCAA tournament.

Most of these Kansas kids didn’t have much to do with the “Bucknell Bummer.” Now they have one to call their own.

Marcellus Sommerville scored 21 points and made five 3-pointers, and 13th-seeded Bradley handed the fourth-seeded Jayhawks their second straight first-round NCAA tournament exit with a 77-73 victory Friday night.

The Braves made 11 3s to pick up their first NCAA tournament victory in 20 years and advance to play fifth-seeded Pittsburgh in the second round of the Oakland Regional on Sunday.

Unlike a year ago, when Wayne Simien missed a 15-footer at the buzzer to give 14th-seeded Bucknell an improbable victory, Kansas looked unprepared and overwhelmed from the start in this one.

The Braves (21-10) led by 14 with 15:38 to go, but let the Jayhawks back in the game with three straight turnovers with around the five minutes left. By the time the inexperienced Jayhawks finally got acclimated to the NCAA tournament pressure and intensity, however, it was too late.

Mario Chalmers made a 3-pointer after one of the takeaways, a three-point play after the second and a runner in the lane after the final one that cut Bradley’s lead to 65-62 with 3:45 to play.

But the Jayhawks (25-8) committed three of their 18 turnovers down the stretch, and Jeff Hawkins missed an open 3-pointer in the corner that would have tied it with a minute to play.

“I’m mad,” said Chalmers, one of three freshmen starting for Kansas. “We should’ve been better prepared for this game. We were nervous and took a while to adjust.”


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