Who are you going to yell at today, Pat Knight? Who is going to get humiliated in public now that your Lamar basketball team got destroyed in the NCAA play-in game last night?
I nominate: you.
That's right. You're getting called out now, Pat Knight. You couldn't even beat Vermont. You couldn't even keep it respectable against Vermont. In a matchup to see which of the two teams would advance to the main tournament as a 16 seed, you got whipped, 71-59. You were down double digits well before halftime, and never got closer than 7 the rest of the way. Against a 16 seed.
What does that make you? A 32 seed? A 128 seed? Here's what it makes you: a loser.
A loser who loudly and publicly berated his players—gaining himself a lot of publicity, some accolades from idiots, and maybe, debatably, a few extra victories in a bad conference. But still a loser.
Let's pause here now to call out the folks who got so excited when you called out your players, when you announced that the young adults who play for you were "the worst group of seniors right now that I've ever been associated with," that they had academic problems and drug problems, that they were "stealing money being on scholarship," and that they represented "why we have problems in society." Really, sportswriters? What's so pleasing and exciting to you about an older person blaming younger people, a white guy blaming black guys, a leader blaming his followers? Think about those questions for a while, about why you so despise these athletes whose talents you spend your lives writing about.
Back to you, Pat Knight. The smug creeps in the sports press ate it all up, all the rage and moralizing, as if your roster were filled with self-centered one-and-done NBA prospects, spoiled shoe-camp babies, and junior-college superstars. You don't have those guys. (You don't have the skills or the stature to recruit those guys.) What you had was a bunch of run-of-the-mill Division I players—the kind of players who are no more talented, on any given night, than the players on the other team. Players who are only as successful as their coach teaches them to be.
Let's look at the stat sheet: 18-8, 13-8, 20-5, 18-10, 22-6, 11-13. That's what your father, Bob Knight, did in his first six years as a head coach, at West Point, where he was restricted to coaching players who were committed to military service. Here's your head-coaching record: 4-7, 14-19, 19-16, and 13-19 at Texas Tech, followed by 23-12 after you got fired and dropped down to Lamar.
Overall, you're 73-73. Your father, at roughly the same point in his career, was 102-50.
It's a poor carpenter who blames his tools, Pat Knight. And you are one cruddy carpenter.
What is wrong with your generation? How does a man reach the age of 41 without being willing to take responsibility for his own work? No wonder our society is such a mess. Guys like you would rather rant and rave and blame people half their age for their own failures.
You had that tantrum last month because you, the head coach of Lamar, had failed to get your team ready to play Stephen F. Austin. Nothing you said could change the fact that you lost the game. Just like you lost to Vermont, in what should have been an even matchup of talent.
Now you and your dumb enablers believe that your little stunt "worked," that insulting your players in public spurred them on to success. Look! You got your team into the NCAA tournament! Not the part of the tournament where Lamar gets its name printed on its own line of the bracket, but still, the tournament.
Well, lots of things "work." You could have kicked a couple guys off scholarship, to make your point. You could have hit them with a taser. Fear is a great motivator, in the short term. The sky's the limit. In the short term.
Was the result worth the cost? That was your old man's problem, in the end. He couldn't lobby the refs without throwing a chair across the gym. He couldn't lodge a complaint without screaming obscenities. He couldn't ask for respect without manhandling someone. It worked for a long time, and then it didn't, and then his career petered out in bitterness and semi-obscurity. At which point he handed it off to you.
The effective part of Bob Knight's coaching legacy—that went to his old protege Mike Krzyzewski: a nasty, self-righteous egomaniac, but one who wins lots and lots of basketball games. You just got the short fuse and the insecurity. Inherit the windbag.
"What a ride," you said last night, praising your players after Vermont finished beating your brains in. "I'll be talking about them till the day I die, these guys." Also: "It's nothing I did. It's the six seniors." The same seniors you went in front of the TV cameras and called an "infestation" less than a month ago.
This is literally, exactly what an abuser does to his victims. Fists, then flowers. You only did it because you cared about them so much, and they went and made you so mad.
What do you want to do with your half-spent life, Pat Knight? Do you want to be a folk hero to assholes? Or do you want to be a basketball coach? You made yourself famous for a little while. But you're still at Lamar. And you're still a loser.