Coach Robert Montgomery Knight is unfortunately perhaps best known for his temper and his bad aim while hunting. Two people recently said Texas Tech basketball coach Bob Knight or his hunting companion hit them with bird shot on separate occasions last month. Mary Ann Chumley said she was struck on the foot by a stray pellet on Oct. 20. Coach Knight apologized for hunting too close to her barn, and she forgave him. James Simpson told Lubbock police he was struck on the neck and back by pellets after yelling at Knight and another for hunting too close to his home. No one was injured and no criminal charges were filed. Nevertheless, the media had a field day covering the stories.
But the legendary Coach Bob Knight has a positive side that does not usually get as much publicity. For example, Coach Knight recently spoke to a small gathering at the Texas Tech Library to help raise money for the Library. Knight praised the library and the folks who staff the facility. During his speech, he included humorous anecdotes relating to his life and basketball. He even worked in the recent "bird shot" claims with a humerus spin.
More importantly, Coach Knight has molded some athletic young minds into great men. Quinn Buckner is such a man. Quinn Buckner recently spoke at the Defense Trial Counsel of Indiana 14th Annual Conference celebrating the 40th Anniversary of the organization in French Lick Indiana. LINK.
Even though his name is not Larry Bird, Quinn was still the local hero. Buckner is not only a Knight disciple, he was a member of the legendary Indiana University 1976 NCAA Championship team. (The last NCAA team to go undefeated and win the National Championship.) Quinn was also a member of the 1976 gold medal-winning U.S. Olympic Basketball team. As such, Buckner knows all about winning. But he told the lawyers that learning to lose in the Pros also provided a valuable education in life. (He played 10 seasons in the NBA, including time with the Boston Celtics and the Indiana Pacers (1985-86.) In 1983-84, Buckner played for the Boston Celtics who were NBA champions.)
Buckner was the head coach of the Dallas Mavericks for a short period of time and indicated that his coaching debut was a failure because players had changed. He gave an example of trying to teach a young player the importance of passing and the player responded that he had "been playing basketball this way for 18 years and no coach was going to ever tell him how to play the game." Quinn Buckner says it was at this point in his coaching career that he realized modern players had changed to the detriment of the game.
Reflecting on what a great influence Coach Knight was on his life, he related a story about the first time Knight scolded him. Coach Knight gave Quinn a harsh lecture all the while Buckner remained silent but looked Coach Knight in the eyes with respect as his father had taught him when dealing with authority figures. As Coach Knight turned away, Coach added, "And another thing, I do not like the tone of your voice." This brought roaring laughter from the 200 plus crowd of lawyers .
While the DTCI Annual meeting in French Lick boasted some of the best speakers ever assembled for one legal seminar (i.e. Ross Kodner of Milwaukee, Margaret Ward of Baltimore, Appellate Court Judge Melissa S. May of Indianapolis, Judge Alex Sanders of Charleston, S.C. and Judge Ernest Yelton on Gaming Law) it was Quinn Buckner's banter with the lawyers and his genuine respect for Coach Knight that brought down the house.
For those wondering what Quinn Buckner is doing now days, since July of 2004, Buckner has served as Vice President of Communications for Pacers Sports & Entertainment, overseeing the Pacers Foundation, Community Relations, Public Information, Internet Marketing and Creative Services. Quinn Buckner is in his eighth season as an analyst for the Pacers’ cable television games on FSN. He remains very interested in college and pro basketball and the more importantly in todays role models for our children.
Update 2-5-08: As of yesterday, Coach Robert Knight officially retired. "He's just tired... He's done it for 40-something years. What more can you win? What more can you do?" said Pat Knight. Knight, 67, was the winningest men's basketball coach in NCAA history, with 902 victories. Knight had 102 wins in six seasons at Army. From 1971 to 2000, he had 662 victories at Indiana. He led Indiana to three NCAA titles. His 1976 championship team went 32-0, the last perfect men's team. He coached the USA to Olympic gold in 1984 in Los Angeles. Hopefully Coach Knight will be remembered for all of his accomplishments and not for his out bursts and temper.