Sports Outside the Beltway

Alabama Hires Major Applewhite

Nick Saban has added Rice offensive coordinator Major Applewhite to his staff at Alabama, according to numerous published reports. The Houston Chronicle says he will be the Tide’s quarterbacks coach but other sources, including the Thomas Murphy of the Mobile Register, say he is in line to be the offensive coordinator. (Update: An updated Chronicle report says, “Major Applewhite, will join the Alabama staff in the near future, serving as offensive coordinator or co-coordinator/quarterbacks coach.”)

Interestingly, LSU reportedly is interested in him for the coordinator job and there are even reports that he might be, at the age of 27, a leading candidate for the head coaching job at Rice with Todd Graham’s departure for Tulsa.

Murphy explains why Applewhite is such a hot prospect:

Rice offensive coordinator Applewhite, 28, helped lead the Owls to their first bowl berth in 45 years this season with an explosive offense. Rice averaged 27 points and 345 yards per game and produced a 1,000-yard quarterback, running back and receiver this season.

Applewhite was also 22-8 as the starting quarterback at Texas, and is the Longhorns’ all-time leader in passing yards (8,353), passing touchdowns (60), passing attempts (1,065) and total offense (8,059).

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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


Bob Knight Ties Adolph Rupp

Texas Tech coach Bob Knight has tied Adolph Rupp on the all-time wins list and needs just four more to pass Dean Smith for first place.

Bob Knight Ties Adolph Rupp Texas Tech coach Bob Knight talks to his team during a time out in the second half of their basketball game with Louisiana Tech in Ruston, La. Wednesday, Dec. 6, 2006. Texas Tech won 66-59.(AP Photo/Chris Graythen) Bob Knight shook hands with the opposing coach, put his head down and walked off the court. Victory No. 876, the one that tied him with legendary Kentucky coach Adolph Rupp for second place on the career list and moved him within three of tying former North Carolina coach Dean Smith for the top spot, didn’t even get a mention from the public address announcer.

Texas Tech’s 66-59 victory at Louisiana Tech on Wednesday night wasn’t followed by a ceremony. The thing that made it like so many of the other wins in Knight’s 41-year career was his usual gruff demeanor when he asked to comment on catching the late Rupp.

Knight reflected back on his playing days as a reserve on Ohio State teams that reached three straight Final Fours in the 1960s. “The thing I remember about Adolph Rupp is that one time I scored seven points against the ornery son of a bitch to help beat him,” Knight said, referring to Ohio State’s 87-74 victory over the Wildcats in the 1961 NCAA tournament. “That’s a lot bigger in my memory than this.”

You just have to love Bob Knight. Apparently, ornery SOBs win a lot of basketball games.



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.


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