LUBBOCK, Texas Bob Knight, known as much for his fiery temper as his basketball brilliance, resigned Monday at Texas Tech, handing the team over to his son.
It was a stunning midseason move by the winningest men's coach in major college basketball, who gave no hint a change was coming. Pat Knight, a Red Raiders assistant, was appointed his father's successor in 2005.
"There's a transition that's going to take place here from me to Pat, and I've dwelt on this all year long ... how it would be best for him and for the team and for what we can do in the long run to make this the best thing for Texas Tech," Knight told the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal, which first reported the resignation.
The 67-year-old Knight informed Texas Tech athletic director Gerald Myers of his decision in a meeting around noon Monday, Texas Tech chancellor Kent Hance told The Associated Press. Knight then called Hance and told him.
"He's ready," Pat Knight said during his weekly radio show. "He's tired."
Hance said: "I think Bob is through with coaching. I think he got to the point where it wasn't fun for him. He thought about it Sunday all day and talked to his wife and decided 'this is something I want to do."'
Knight told the newspaper he informed the team before practice Monday.
The Red Raiders beat Oklahoma State 67-60 on Saturday, giving Knight his 902nd victory. He won national titles at Indiana in 1976, '81 and '87.
"I guess you can never be surprised at some of the things Bob does," former UCLA coach John Wooden told the AP. "I don't think there's ever been a better teacher of the game of basketball than Bob. I don't always approve of his methods, but his players for the most part are very loyal to him. I would say that no player that ever played for him would not say he did not come out a stronger person."
In September, Knight signed a three-year contract extension that runs through the 2011-12 season.
"I didn't know, I've never really known when I was going to step down from this job. As I thought about it, my first thought was at the end of this season," Knight told the Lubbock paper. "My thinking was ... the best thing for the long run for this team would be for Pat and his staff to coach these remaining 10 games."
Knight arrived at Texas Tech in March 2001, six months after being fired by Indiana for what school officials there called a "pattern of unacceptable behavior."
NCAA president Myles Brand, the former Indiana University president who fired Knight, declined to comment on the resignation, spokesman Erik Christianson said Monday night.
In Knight's first six years at Tech, he led the Red Raiders to five 20-win seasons, a first at the school. They are 12-8 this season and gave Knight his 900th victory last month against Texas A&M.
Knight passed former North Carolina coach Dean Smith as the winningest Division I coach Jan. 1, 2007, getting career win No. 880. To celebrate the milestone Knight chose "My Way" by Frank Sinatra, a mantra for how he navigated his personal and professional worlds.
"Bob is kind of a funny guy. He always loved that song 'My Way,' and this is another example," Hance said.
Back then, Knight explained why "My Way" was so fitting.
"I've simply tried to do what I think is best," Knight said. "Regrets? Sure. Just like the song. I have regrets. I wish I could have done things better at times. I wish I would have had a better answer, a better way, at times. But just like he said, I did it my way and when I look back on it, I don't think my way was all that bad."
Knight has been a college coach for 42 years. He broke in at Army in 1965, but made his mark in 29 years at Indiana.
He's a complex package, someone who can hit a policeman, throw a chair across the court or be accused of wrapping his hands around a player's neck, yet has never been in trouble for breaking NCAA rules, always has a high graduation rate and gave his salary back a few years ago because he didn't think he'd earned it. "I am very fortunate and blessed to have played for him. He made me a better man and for that I am grateful," former Indiana star and current New Mexico coach Steve Alford said.
Knight got his 100th victory at Army, then moved to Indiana, where his Hoosiers went 662-239 from 1971-2000.
His first NCAA title came in 1976 when Indiana went undefeated, a feat no team has accomplished since. In 1984, he coached the U.S. Olympic team to a gold medal in Los Angeles.
When he began his coaching career at Army, he was 24, the youngest-ever Division I coach. Knight won 20 or more games in 29 seasons.
"Today was the most relaxed and relieved I've seen him in a long time," Pat Knight said during his show. "He thought about doing it a year ago but he didn't want people to think he was just staying for the record. So he kind of pushed himself to go one more year."