Frankly, the numbers speak for themselves when talking about Knight. 902 wins, 11 Big Ten titles, 3 NCAA titles, and 5 Final Fours.
But when it comes to my own personal opinion of him, I never liked the guy. Why?
- I am a Michigan man. Knight coached at Indiana until 2001, and as a rule I don't root for any other Big 10 teams.
- Knight hasn't been that successful since I started following sports in 1992. After 1994, Indiana never advanced past the first weekend of the NCAA Tournament. During his time at Texas Tech, the Red Raiders made it past the first weekend once in three tries. While I no doubt appreciate his career-long success, his recent history hasn't been kind.
- The guy is a jerk. Choking, hitting players, throwing chairs, and berating students on campus derail his legacy for me. I just don't like him or his teams on the court enough for me to overlook that side of his personality.
While today may be a sad day for most college basketball fans, I'm happy to see Knight go. His act made him bigger than his teams and that trait has only spread in recent years. With more and more exposure, coaches create these personas that allow them to gain popularity and command more money. Men like Rick Majerus, Bob Huggins, Nick Saban, Dennis Franchione, and Bobby Petrino make mockeries of the NCAA with the way they sell themselves as bigger than their teams. Of course, none of these men have the same violence in their attitudes that Knight has, the spectacle they create in the media is no doubt intentional and certainly reeks of Knight's influence.