That came out of nowhere, but I have always enjoyed the coach, and therefore will miss him.
I recall the impression he made on me as a young lad. When I was 16, I went to a momentous day for the Wisconsin basketball program. The Badgers were awful for almost 100 years, and the big event of the year was when Indiana would come calling. For hours, I joined the UW Field House crowd in trying to verbally assault him, with various chants and taunts. Indiana kicked our butt, and then after the game, I had the chance to secure an autograph from the legendary figure who is somewhere between John Wooden and Darth Vader. He was larger than life and the thrill made my year. I couldn’t imagine any figure in my sports sphere growing up who had the same name power.
So, obviously getting to know him on some level was really a crazy mind bender for me, but I am very happy I had the chance.
Knight keeps the records warm for Coach K …
Legendary Texas Tech men's basketball coach Bob Knight, the NCAA Division I all-time wins leader, unexpectedly resigned Monday with 10 regular-season games remaining.
Mr. Knight, known as much for his fiery temper as his coaching excellence, had planned to resign after the season – his 42nd as a head coach – but decided Sunday that it was time to step down. His son Pat, who, in 2005, was named Mr. Knight's eventual successor, will take over as head coach under a five-year contract.
In September, Mr. Knight, 67, signed a three-year contract extension that would have carried him through the 2011-12 season.
Pat Knight said his father wasn't resigning because of health concerns, though he hadn't felt well in recent months.
Tech Athletic Director Gerald Myers said Mr. Knight called him early Monday and told him he wanted to meet. In a one-hour meeting, Mr. Knight told Mr. Myers he was resigning.
"He's been doing this for over 40 years ... and he was worn out and tired and felt like it was time for a change," Mr. Myers said. "I agreed with him. Bob has brought great recognition to the university, probably more so than anyone who has ever been at Texas Tech."
Not long after the meeting, Mr. Knight, who's often called "The General," returned to the basketball offices and broke the news to his sons, Pat and Tim.
"He said, 'It's all yours,' " Pat Knight said. "He said, 'I can't do it anymore. I'm worn out.' And he has been. He hasn't looked good. You could tell it was getting to him. He just didn't have any more enjoyment. The losses were getting harder. The pressure, he just wasn't happy. It just wasn't worth it any more."
Loved the gritty, gutty effort from the Mavs to end this roadtrip. 0-3 would have really hurt, even with the injury problems. But the Mavs hold off the Magic late to get a hard fought win …
Pride had hit home for a dinged-up team stung by an embarrassing 23-point defeat the night before against the Pistons and dragging two straight losses into the home of the Southeast Division-leading Magic.
The Mavs pulled together with a terrific team effort, sprinting to an early double-digit lead and then snuffing out the Magic's late charge with a 10-0 run in the fourth quarter for a determined 107-98 victory at Amway Arena.
"He showed aggressiveness by us coming in for the shoot-around," said forward Brandon Bass, who had a big game with 16 points and six rebounds. "Usually we'd just be staying at the hotel. That rubbed off on us to come out with energy early."
Johnson, seeking to trigger the offense and Jason Terry's struggling jump shot, switched up the lineup and used J.J. Barea as the starting point guard, sending Terry back to the bench, and hopefully to his comfort zone.
Barea's feverish pace got the Mavs running out of the gate. Terry came on and scored four quick points as the Mavs jumped ahead, 29-14, a lead that would eventually dwindle to 83-80 with 7:15 to play and challenge their competitive desire.
"We had to make a stand," said Josh Howard, who matched Magic center Dwight Howard with a game-high 28 points. "They made a big run, and we had to turn around and do the same thing or else it would have been the other way around, they would have been the winners."
The Mavs answered the bell with a 10-0 run, six points coming from Terry, who poured in 12 of his 20 points in those final seven minutes. He and Bass combined for 22 of the Mavs' 36 fourth-quarter points.
"The coaches and everybody else told me to maintain my aggressiveness and really look to shoot," Terry said. "They thought I was a little hesitant the last couple of ballgames. I thought our starters got us off to a great start, which gave us confidence. It was a tough game after that, but we held our ground and got the win."
The Mavs got sizable contributions from up and down the lineup. Devean George, the first player off the bench, hit his first two 3-pointers and finished with eight points, four rebounds and solid defensive duty.
Dirk Nowitzki, facing the smaller Rashard Lewis, held him to 13 points. Nowitzki scored 20 points and hit shots at key moments. The Mavs dominated the rebounds, 47-34, and set a season-low with seven turnovers.
As a result, the Mavs, who head home for two games, pulled into a tie for first place with New Orleans.
As the Mavs left the floor with the victory, Johnson met each player for a personal congratulations.
"Early on we were great, the energy, the focus was there and really it carried through for the whole game," Nowitzki said.
Dunk O Meter Top 10 …and the highest ranking Maverick…
1 Dwight Howard C ORL 169
2 Amare Stoudemire C PHO 108
3 Tyson Chandler C NO 104
4 Shawn Marion PF PHO 104
5 Andrew Bynum C LAL 88
6 Samuel Dalembert C PHI 79
7 Yao Ming C HOU 75
8 Carmelo Anthony SF DEN 73
9 David Lee PF NY 71
10 Ronnie Brewer SG UTA 69
45 Erick Dampier C DAL 35
Further Super Bowl follow-up…
Bill Simmons comes through in defeat …poor sports guy…
Over the weekend, I was arguing with a friend about the unthinkable scenario of a Patriots defeat and whether it would become the most famous loss in the history of team sports. You can have famous wins and famous losses -- for instance, when an undefeated UNLV team lost to Duke, that was a famous loss. When Villanova beat Georgetown in '85, that was a famous win. When the Mets beat the Red Sox in the '86 World Series, that was a famous win and a famous loss, although it was definitely more famous for the "loss" part. When the '80 USA hockey team beat the Russians, it was a famous win here and a famous loss in Russia. You get the idea.
Eventually, we decided that an upset of the Pats would be like the '86 World Series -- more of a famous loss than a famous win, but something that would definitely get major play as a win because of the New York media. (By contrast, if Tampa Bay or Seattle had toppled the 18-0 Patriots, it would have been remembered as a famous loss and that's it.) Now it's playing out exactly like we predicted, and I guess what I'm trying to say here is that I spent most of the second half hating myself for ever having the conversation in the first place.
(Along those same lines, has there ever been a better performance by the Karma Gods than Super Bowl XLII? On one side, you have the Patriots cheating in Week 1, going into "Eff-You" mode and running up scores for the next two months ... and just when it seemed like there wouldn't be any real repercussions, they suffered the double-whammy of Brady's ankle sprain and Spygate blowing up again days before the final game. On the other side, you have the G-Men nobly playing their starters in Week 17 and giving everyone such a wonderful and unexpected sporting event ... and they're rewarded with four straight wins, a Super Bowl title and one of the most famous upset victories in the history of professional sports. Hmmmmmmm.)
Easterbrook with a great column on Spygate …
Saturday morning, the Boston Herald ran a story asserting the Patriots secretly taped the Rams' private walk-through before Super Bowl XXXVI. The Herald cited an unnamed source and did not name Walsh as the person behind the camera.
Also Saturday, Mike Fish reported on ESPN that St. Louis' walk-through was devoted to red zone plays -- all new plays and new formations the Rams had not shown during the season. Going into that Super Bowl, the Rams' "Greatest Show on Turf" was the league's highest-scoring team. In that game, St. Louis was held to a field goal in the first half. The Rams kept getting bogged down, as if New England knew what plays were coming. If the Patriots secretly taped the Rams' walk-through, then stopped the red zone plays the Rams showed in that walk-through, then won that Super Bowl by three points, then logic says New England materially benefited from cheating in the Super Bowl. If true, this would be the worst sports scandal since the Black Sox.
Let's put that in capital letters: IF TRUE. We don't yet know whether the Super Bowl allegations are true. Then again, we are into only the second day of information going on the record and the league finally answering some questions about the subject.
The Patriots, for their part, are denying the allegations.
"The suggestion that the New England Patriots recorded the St. Louis Rams' walk-through on the day before Super Bowl XXXVI is absolutely false," Patriots spokesman Stacey James said. "Any suggestion to the contrary is untrue."
Here's another unanswered question. If the materials the Patriots turned over and the league destroyed really were just six sideline videos and some notes, that's pretty innocuous. So why didn't the NFL reveal what was destroyed? If the materials really were minor stuff, why the months of "No comment"?
When news of the second act of Spygate hit the sports world Friday, there was considerable backlash. Many radio and TV analysts initially reacted angrily, as if to say, "This is our private universe. In our private universe, everything is perfect. Keep reality out." But if you love athletic competition, if you want sports to be important and generate lots of money and attention, the games must be honest. Any indication of dishonesty should be deeply unsettling.
Patriots dumping out of Hawaii …shocker…
Tom Brady and Randy Moss pulled out of the Pro Bowl on Monday, a day after the New England Patriots were beaten in the Super Bowl.
After throwing a league-record 50 touchdown passes during the season, Brady was battered by the New York Giants during their 17-14 win Sunday. He has been bothered by a tender ankle and was photographed in New York wearing a protective boot two weeks prior to the Super Bowl.
Brady, who first injured his ankle against San Diego in the AFC Championship Game, was sacked five times by the Giants. He will be replaced by Cleveland Browns quarterback Derek Anderson.
Moss, who caught a record 23 TD passes from Brady during the season, had five receptions for 62 yards and a TD in the Super Bowl. He will be replaced by disgruntled Cincinnati Bengals receiver Chad Johnson.
The Patriots said Brady and Moss each opted out because of ankle injuries.
Welker, Red Raider, makes Lubbock proud …
Welker's breakout season, in which he tied for the NFL lead with 112 receptions, came after New England traded two draft picks to Miami to acquire him over the summer. New England coach Bill Belichick said last week that he grew tired of seeing the energetic Welker terrorize the Patriots, so he took care of that by acquiring the Tech ex for his team.
The trade turned out to be a stroke of genius.
"I think it's exciting,'' Leach said. "I think that the luck comes in with a certain level of timing, right team, right setting, a group that really utilizes his talents and the others around him. It's not surprising, though.''
Though 2003 was his senior season at Tech, Welker's not totally split from the program. He's among several ex-Red Raider pro players who returns to campus to work out in the offseason.
Tech coaches say Welker continues to help them more than he might know.
"Oh yeah, we talk about him all the time,'' Riley said, "especially to receivers, but really to all positions.
Parents and (recruits) that we see, they see Wes and know who he is. They see a guy who wasn't just super talented, but really developed his skills well at Texas Tech. If we develop their skills as well as Wes did, they feel like they have a chance. It's a huge deal for us.''
Simmons said Welker's rags-to-riches story has all sorts of applications. It need not be with specific players. It can have big-picture value, too.
"We promote more the offense,'' Simmons said, "because if you really look at it, a lot of what New England is doing and some of what the Indianapolis Colts are doing is basically the same formations (as Tech's). I'm sure the verbiage is different, but it's the same formations and route combinations that we're running here at Texas Tech. But it doesn't hurt having the No. 1 receiver in the NFL and the No. 1 receiver in college (Mike Crabtree) having played in the Texas Tech offense.''
Leach and Hodges said they trade text messages with Welker fairly often.
Crest Cadillac Terrell Owens Commercial Here …
The Curse of the Woof …
Kenny Cooper’s big chance to strike often for FC Dallas …
Kenny Cooper brushes aside any notion that FC Dallas' offense now rests on his shoulders.
"I'm not a finished product. I'm young, and I know I have a lot of room to improve and a lot of years to do that," the 23-year-old forward said Monday, the first day of preseason training for FC Dallas.
But the Jesuit graduate's best opportunity to emerge as the club's main scoring option may come this season.
FC Dallas has opened the post-Carlos Ruiz era, and coach Steve Morrow is seeking to fill the void left by Ruiz, the club's leading scorer the last three seasons.
"He [Cooper] has a good opportunity to step up and show us what he can do," Morrow said. "I think if he puts his mind to it, he could be one of the top scorers of this league."
Cooper, who spent the off-season training with the Manchester United reserves, has 15 goals in two seasons with Dallas, with 11 coming in his rookie year.
He led the club in scoring after eight matches last seasons before suffering a broken right tibia last June against Los Angeles. The injury limited him to 14 matches.
With midfielder Denilson not expected to be in the picture this season, Morrow said the club may look for another option at the forward position, even if it means signing another designated player. That distinction went to Denilson, a Brazilian national, last season.
This is why we follow teams – in hopes this will be us one day: