Texas Tech basketball: Bob Knight’s most memorable moments as a Red Raider

Portrait of legendary basketball coach Bob Knight at Texas Tech on July 28, 2006.
Portrait of legendary basketball coach Bob Knight at Texas Tech on July 28, 2006. /
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Texas Tech fans celebrate as Knight passes Dean Smith

Knight entered the 2006-07 season needing only 11 wins to surpass former North Carolina head coach Dean Smith on the all-time wins list.  On January 1, 2007, he accomplished that feat with a 70-68 win over New Mexico in Lubbock.

However, win No. 880 would not come easy.  In fact, he had to sweat it out as his team blew a 20-point lead and had to hold its breath as New Mexico had a 3-pointer at the buzzer to potentially win the game.

That shot was off the mark and the celebration in Lubbock would ensue with red confetti falling from the rafters.

After the game, Knight took to the arena microphone (as he frequently did during his coaching career) to address the crowd.  Of course, his remarks were dripping with humor and humility, two trademarks of his time in Lubbock.

"“The first 15 minutes of the game was Karen’s game plan,” he said of his wife, herself a former high school coach. “The rest of it was mine, unfortunately. I just say thank you.” He then turned his attention to the Texas Tech administration.  “I’d like to thank (administrators) for giving me an opportunity to coach at Texas Tech,” he said."

Then, a video tribute featuring, among others, his former player at Army and then Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski.

It was a celebration that had been delayed by a few days thanks to a loss to UNLV on December 28.  That forced the throng of national media that was assembled in Lubbock to hang out on the South Plains for a few more days.

Knight’s coronation almost had to be moved to the January 6 home game against Oklahoma though.  That’s because Tech trailed UNM by four points with under seven minutes left in the game.

However, one of the best players of Knight’s tenure in Lubbock would come to the rescue.  As part of a game-high 22 points, Jarrius Jackson would nail a clutch 3-pointer with just over two minutes to play to give his team the lead for good.  His teammate, Martin Zeno, would also score 22 points that day while only one other Red Raider, Charlie Burgess, would reach double figures in scoring.

It had been nearly a decade since Smith had retired and just about every college basketball fan and observer knew that Knight would eventually overtake him on the wins list.  Similarly, most believed that Coach K would eventually pass Knight, which he did in 2011.

So, while Knight’s time atop the all-time men’s win list was rather brief, it was an important moment in the history of the sport.  What’s more, it is one of the greatest accomplishments ever celebrated by a member of the Texas Tech athletic department.