Madam Speaker, in West Texas, football has been king since the beginning of time. Other sports were ``foreign'' to the flat, dry plains. Then somebody from a college in Indiana showed up, with a round ball and changed the Texas sports landscape. Bob ``The General'' Knight became the head coach of the Texas Tech Red Raiders men's basketball team--yes, basketball. On January 1, 2007, the threshold into a new year, Knight crossed another important threshold--becoming the winningest coach ever in NCAA Division I basketball with a total of 880 victories. This record came in a win, by Texas Tech, over the University of New Mexico Lobos, with a score of 70-68. The previous record holder was Dean Smith, head coach of the University of North Carolina. Coach Knight has made basketball at Texas Tech into a cause and crusade.
A review of Knight's collegiate coaching career is in order. We start where Knight, himself, started--the West Point Military Academy. It was there that Knight earned his first head coaching job at the extraordinarily young age of 24. It was at West Point that Knight earned the nickname ``The General.'' His tenure at West Point produced a basketball record of 102 wins and 50 losses.
After West Point, Knight went on to the basketball state of Indiana, and the University of Indiana Hoosiers, in 1971. Leading the Hoosiers is where the achievements began to pile up in the trophy room. Knight's accomplishments boast three National Championships (1976, 1981, and 1987), a never replicated, undefeated season (1976), eleven Big Ten Conference titles (1973-1976, 1980-1981, 1983, 1987, 1989, 1991, 1993), National Coach of the Year (1975, 1976, 1987, 1989), and Big Ten Coach of the Year (1973, 1975, 1976, 1980, 1981). As a Hoosier, Knight averaged a 73% success rate with 662 wins and 239 losses.
Outside of the NCAA national championships, Knight has led teams to three other championships. In 1979, the Hoosiers won the NIT Championship. Also, in 1979, Knight coached the Pan American team to a gold medal. In 1984, Knight had the privilege of leading the U.S. men's basketball team to a Gold Medal at the Summer Olympics in Los Angeles. On May 13, 1991, Knight was memorialized when he was inducted, for his coaching, in the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame.
In 2001, Knight accepted the head coach position at Texas Tech and quickly turned the program around into a winning organization. Coach takes ordinary players and teaches them to perform above their ability. We can expect to see the Red Raider's basketball team to continue to excel in the future.
Finally, it is worth noting that Knight's accomplishments extend beyond the court, beyond the victories--He is first and foremost a teacher. High graduation rates mark his teams, and many excellent players, most notably Isaiah Thomas, have gone on to professional and Hall of Fame glory. Also, 16 former assistant coaches of Knight have gone on to become head coaches at the collegiate level.
So, Madam Speaker, as the New Year rings in, I commend Bob Knight for excellence in leadership of America's youth. The West Texas sports landscape has, yes, changed forever.
That's just the way it is.