Obviously many Tar Heel fans have a vested in interest in Dean Smith’s record being broken by Bobby Knight. My own personal opinion is that it was inevitable the record would be passed and as time passed Dean would be relegated further down the list. So getting to terribly upset over the record being broken is simply not a constructive exercise. Am I a little agitated that Knight is the one to break it first? Yes, simply because for all of Knight’s accomplishment on the court which included one more national championship than Dean, Knight is also a bully. This is obviously an individual who lacks the self control to refrain from kicking his own son, throwing a chair on the court, assaulting a police officer in Puerto Rico, treating journalists paid to ask questions as though they are beneath contempt, and being a general jerk for the sake of being a jerk. Whereas Dean was one to step aside and eschew the attention of the moment, Knight has been one to bring negative attention to himself. It also should be noted Dean was far more consistent over the course of his final 27 seasons with 20 wins seasons in each of them and 23 straight NCAA Tournament appearance. UNC also went to 13 straight Sweet Sixteens during that span. By and large UNC teams were consistently better from season to season under Dean than Indiana teams were under Knight. So as far as I am concerned Knight can have the record, I’ll take Dean Smith with all of his class and upstanding behavior as well as the consistent winning which aside from the number of NCAA titles exceeds what Knight did over the same span. Besides it took Knight five more seasons to get to the mark than it did Dean. Sounds like Dean was far more successful on average than “the General.”
I also would like to mention that ESPN’s hypocrisy in covering the record being broken is beyond the pale. First of all they use the label “winningest men’s Division I coach” in reference to the record when two years ago they practically foamed at the mouth when Tennessee women’s coach Pat Summit passed Dean Smith’s total to become the “all time winningest coach in college basketball” Here is my confusion. If Knight is set to become only the all time “men’s” leader then isn’t Pat Summit the all time “women’s” leader? Wouldn’t that mean she did not actually break a record when she hit 880? The point is ESPN is willing to use the gender specific designation when referring to this record but when it suited their own marketing campaign for women’s basketball they abandoned it to create an absolutely false milestone.
Secondly, ESPN was so busy telling us two months ago that Knight was the epitome of all evil for tapping the chin of a player to force him to pay attention and now they are so busy being over backwards to spin his career as being one of the greatest in history. Of course based on win total it is but in reference to the various controversies they fall silent opting to promote any and every accomplishment, including a 1979 NIT title which Rick Majerus talked about during two different segments as though it was another NCAA title. I was under the impression that the NIT was where those who could not make the NCAA Tournament went to play. And if that was not bad enought during the UNC-Rutgers game Terry Gannon and Len Elmore spent 80% of the game talking about Knight. It think it is apparent these talking points came from Bristol since Gannon and Elmore are primarily ACC based announcers and would not normally be so caught up referring to another coach so often during an ACC broadcast unless told to do so. It was downright disgusting the degree to which ESPN is plugging the record even to the point they spend so much time during a different game talking about it.
Obviously the hype machine at ESPN cannot be quelled which can only mean that when Mike Krzyzewski gets ready to pass Knight some of use may actually take our own lives before it actually happens.