KNIGHT IN ARMOR

Renowned basketball coach Bob Knight, 58, has spent much of his illustrious career in the spotlight. He started coaching at West Point in 1965, then went on to coach Indiana from 1971 to 2000, a stint that included three NCAA championships, and finally to his present position in the Big 12 as head coach of the Texas Tech Red Raiders. Now Knight has co-written his first book, Knight: My Story (Thomas Dunne/St. Martin’s Press), an honest and frank autobiography about his life — so far.

AW: What’s the main focus of the book?
BK:
People over the years have been interested in my thoughts on what it takes to be successful, what leadership is all about, how to make demands of others — all those things that are, of course, related. It gave me a chance to say how grateful I feel to the game of basketball itself, and to many, many people who helped me form my thoughts on the best ways to teach and to play the game.

AW: Anything you didn’t cover in the book that you wish you could have?
BK:
I’d love to have been able to get more of my first year at Texas Tech into it, but publishing deadlines made that impossible. I’ve really enjoyed the people at Texas Tech, and I’ve enjoyed the basketball situation here immensely.

AW: Ever thought about taking a pro coaching job?
BK:
I deal with that in the book, but not to any great length because the answer is obvious: Yes, I thought about it, but no, I was never truly interested in it. Why? Because too many of the things I value most in coaching — helping kids get a college degree, for example, and preparing them in a whole lot of ways for things they’re going to face in life — are an integral part of college basketball as I know it but a lesser factor, or no factor at all, in professional coaching.

AW: When will it be time to retire and stop coaching?
BK:
When, one, I no longer work hard enough or have enough energy to provide kids with the kind of background that will enable them to be successful in whatever they choose to do, or, two, I just plain don’t enjoy what I’m doing. I don’t see that as in any way imminent. — J.E.M.