Mind Over Sports

Bobby Knight: He Treats His Players Like Human Beings first, then as Athletic Performers.

Posted on: December 20, 2006

knight_bobbyIt’s easy to be critical of Texas Tech head basketball coach Bobby Knight. Especially if you really aren’t aware of what goes on behind the scenes in the locker room. What sets Bobby Knight and other successful coaches like him apart from the others is one basic element: They genuinely care about their players. They care about the welfare and personal issues of their players. And they’re always there to help them through troubled times. The players know this only too well. They pick it up fast and will play their hearts out for any coach, like Knight, who cares about them as human beings first and then as athletic performers.

Coach Knight and others like him, such as Mike Singletary Assistant Head Coach for the San Francisco 49ers, Roy Williams, head basketball coach at North Carolina, former NFL and University of Oklahoma Coach Barry Switzer, NFL Coach Al Saunders, and Mike Krzyzewski, head basketball coach at Duke University, will tell you that they are not only preparing their athletes to be good performers on the field or on the court, but also to handle the life they will encounter in the real world after their sports careers have ended.

It’s been said that if you want to know if someone is committed, all you have to do is look at their actions. Commitment shows up in what we do, not what we say we’re going to do. Bobby Knight’s actions speak for themselves. For example, few people are aware (and if memory serves me I first heard this when he was interviewed on the Washington Press Club on national television) that after a player has used up his four years of eligibility, if he still hasn’t graduated, Knight dips into his own pocket and pays for the fifth year himself. How’s that for commitment?

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