February 4, 2008

I coach for a living. It's a pretty cool gig and sometimes hard to believe I get paid a pretty nice wage doing it, but beyond a living its a profession and I'm continually trying to improve my craft. It's something a professional would do and a reason why I try to observe and learn from coaches whenever I can.

So now, a day after celebrating the loss of a cheater (Bill Belichick), I'm saddened to hear that Coach Knight has stepped down at Texas Tech. I admire Coach Knight - his framed photo sits on my office wall - and I feel privileged to have had a chance to see him perform his craft up close.

Coach was at Indiana when I was an assistant with the women's team and our interactions were few, but on more than one occasion Coach Knight really went out of his way to help our team. He didn't have to. For a man who had delivered IU three national championships, a sterling graduation rate, and gave many thousands of dollars worth of donations to the library, Coach Knight had no obligation to help out a team that was working its way up from the bottom of the Big Ten, but he did and for that we were deeply appreciative.

I'm also deeply appreciative that Coach Knight allowed me to attend some of his practices. (Practices were closed to the public.) Again, he had no obligation to allow some unknown swimming assistant watch him do what I'm fortunate to do - coach.

Whenever someone learns I was at IU when Coach Knight was, they invarably ask me for my opinion. My answer is always the same - Coach Knight is a great person and a great coach. If you're loyal, are willing to work your butt off and don't repeat the same mistake, you'd never have a problem with him.

Loyalty, work ethic and coachability. Funny how those are traits I look for in our guys.



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