Passing the Torch

Dean Smith, Bob Knight didn't set out to become all-time winningest coaches in NCAA



When Michael Jordan retired from the NBA, a retirement dinner was held in his honor.

Provided by Knight family
Ahmad Rashad, left, interviews Michael Jordan, Dean Smith and Bob Knight at an NBA retirement ceremony for Jordan.

Dean Smith remembers Jordan being asked what the difference was between his former college coach and his former Olympics coach, Bob Knight.

Smith said that Jordan said they were both very similar, except the language.

Knight, though, said "He said Dean Smith was the master of the four-corner offense and I was the master of the four-letter word."

One similarity between the two coaches, however, is that neither really paid much attention to the record for most career victories in Division I men's basketball.

Knight vs. Smith

Bob Knight and Dean Smith faced each other five times during their careers.

1979-80 season: Assembly Hall, Bloomington, Ind. Final score: North Carolina 61, Indiana 57

1980-81 season: Chapel Hill, N.C. Final score: North Carolina 65, Indiana 56

1980-81 NCAA Tournament National championship game, The Spectrum, Philadelphia: Final score: Indiana 63, North Carolina 50

1983-84 NCAA Tournament, Second round, Atlanta, Ga. Final score: Indiana 72, North Carolina 68

1988-89 season Preseason NIT, New York Final score: North Carolina 106, Indiana 92

"I know how many Dean has and I know how many I have, but until a little while ago, I hadn't really paid attention to it," Knight said prior to the start of the 2006-07 season. "There are records of ability and records of longevity. I wish I could have a record because of ability rather than longevity."

"When you've coached as long as I have you've outlived a lot of people. Any good coach ought to win some games. ... If you fish for 12 hours, you better catch something before the end of the day."

Smith said he was looking forward to the day when Knight would supplant him.

"I'm delighted for him and have great respect for him," Smith said. "He and I both think it's not a big deal."

Smith said his players urged him to continue his career so he could pass then-No. 1, Adolph Rupp.

"Bob loves the game," Smith said. "I think it's an honor for his players and that's what he cares about.

"West Point was not an easy place to win and Texas Tech is in a tough league that plays a good schedule."

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