Here's Tuesday's Dear Gary ...
Dear Gary: Bob knight was never a good recruiter and he won at Texas Tech and Indiana. But there is only a few that can match his coaching. You usually are right on, but you are off on this one.
I've received some version of this email a dozen times today, all from people who are missing the point.
So let me try again.
Yes, Bob Knight is a great "coach" in terms of actual coaching. I put that right in the column multiple times. But the reality of high-major college basketball in the year 2009 is that simply being a great coach isn't good enough. Great coaches win league titles and average coaches win league titles. Happens every season. But the one thing all conference champions have in common are great players relative to their league affiliation, meaning it's much more important in this era to hire a great recruiter at the high-major level, then worry about whether he can coach later.
To be clear, what Bob Knight did at Indiana was phenomenal.
I've written that many times.
But that happened in another era.
And though I keep hearing about how he "won" at Texas Tech, I'm having a hard time identifying what he won, exactly, because here's what I see when I look at Bob Knight's tenure at Texas Tech ...
2001–2002: 10–6 in the Big 12 (finished tied for third)
2002–2003: 6–10 in the Big 12 (finished tied for seventh)
2003–2004: 9–7 in the Big 12 (finished tied for fifth)
2004–2005: 10–6 in the Big 12 (finished fourth)
2005–2006: 6–10 in the Big 12 (finished tied for seventh)
2006–2007: 9–7 in the Big 12 (finished fifth)
2007–2008: 3–3 in the Big 12 (tied for sixth at time of resignation)
What the record shows is that Knight was barely better than .500 in the league, never finished better than third and on average finished a little worse than fifth in six-plus seasons. Why? Because he never recruited in a way that could make Texas Tech a player in the Big 12, and that's my point, that there's no reason to think he'd be able to consistently compete with Billy Donovan, Bruce Pearl and Billy Gillispie because there's no reason to think his roster would ever be comparable to the rosters of Florida, Tennessee and Kentucky.
But Knight can do more with less than anybody, Gary?
That's what some of you are thinking, I know.
And guess what? I agree with you.
But at Georgia the goal should not be to try to do more with less; it should be to do more with more, and that's why hiring a 68-year-old with no passion for recruiting would be a mistake, because it would ensure average rosters, and average rosters don't win SEC titles. Or Big 12 titles, as we've learned already.