Issue: "John Kerry: On a roll," Feb. 14, 2004

Tossed salad

Famed college basketball coach Bob Knight has waged verbal war with media, fans, and school officials in just about every imaginable venue. So why not a grocery store? Perhaps, just like many other Americans, Coach Knight simply finds the supermarket aisles grating. Unlike most Americans, however, the irritation escalated into a verbal confrontation that has led to a university investigation. The scene that took place at an upscale Lubbock, Texas, grocery store on Feb. 2 seemed more like Bob Knight from his days at Indiana, not the milder coach who had turned Texas Tech's fortunes.

On a Monday near noon for reasons that were not immediately known, Bob Knight and Texas Tech University Chancellor David Smith came together near the store's salad bar; according to a newspaper account, Mr. Knight became angry and yelled obscenities at Mr. Smith. Mr. Knight was agitated enough that he dropped some of his food as he shouted. A supermarket official called the encounter a disagreement that ended very quickly. Recent conference losses to Texas and Oklahoma State soured a fine winning streak in the Big 12 conference and could have added to the short-tempered Mr. Knight's annoyance.

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Mr. Knight has been one of college sports' most discussed personalities during his nearly four decades of coaching, but his career is littered with explosive episodes. Through it all, Mr. Knight has earned both praise and criticism from former players and widespread respect for his graduation rates and high number of academic allÐBig Ten players.

Coach Knight's legacy

1966 Named head coach at Army at age 24; compiles a 102-50 record.

1972 Takes over at Indiana.

1973 Named Big Ten coach of the year after leading the Hoosiers to the Final Four.

1975 Again named Big Ten coach of the year and becomes the unanimous selection for national coach of the year after leading Indiana to a 31-1 record.

1976 Leads Indiana to perfect 32-0 season and national championship. During the run, grabs sophomore Jim Wisman by his jersey after becoming upset over sloppy play.

1980 Fires a blank from a starter's pistol at a newspaper reporter, he says, to keep from going crazy; records his 300th coaching victory.

1981 During his second championship run with the Hoosiers, stuffs an LSU fan into a trash can during the Final Four in Philadelphia.

1984 Coaches U.S. Olympic team to a gold medal.

1985 During a game against Purdue, chucks a chair across the court into a section of handicapped fans; wins his 400th game.

1986 Berates Indiana cheerleaders and kicks one of their megaphones after suspecting their cheering disrupted a Steve Alford free throw.

1987 Defeats Syracuse to win his third national championship, but along the way is fined $10,000 for punching a scorer's table. Later, he challenges international referees by pulling the U.S. team off the floor in a game against the Soviet Union.

1991 Inducted into the National Basketball Hall of Fame.

1993 Becomes the youngest coach to ever win 600 games. Kicks either his son Patrick or the chair he was sitting in during a game.

1994 Head-butts a player while yelling at him during a game.

1997 Earns his 700th victory, but Jason Collier transfers, saying he's tired of the verbal abuse.

1998 Fined $10,000 by the Big Ten for berating officials.

1999 Accidentally shoots hunting partner in the back and is charged with hunting without a license; also puts a restaurant patron in a chokehold after being confronted.

2000 Launches into a shouting match with Indiana athletic director Clarence Doninger after a loss. Leaked video footage shows the coach choking former player Neil Reed for a few seconds during the 1997 season. An investigation by the university's trustees reveals Mr. Knight intimidated an Athletic Department secretary, attacked an assistant coach, and even choked and punched Indiana's sports information director during the 1970s. Mr. Knight is fined $30,000, suspended for three games, and given a zero-tolerance code of conduct. On Sept. 7, the coach apparently grabs a student by the arm and curses at him when he addresses him by his last name. Mr. Knight is fired three days later.

2001 Hired by Texas Tech, with a five-year contract containing no behavioral clauses.

2002 In his first season at Tech, turns the program around with a 23-9 record.

2003 Wins his 800th game.

Around the horn

Tom Brady keeps winning the MVP honor, but it's Adam Vinatieri who keeps winning the games. For the second time in three seasons, the Super Bowl trophy fell to a kicker's leg, and for just the fourth time in Super Bowl history, a last-minute kick decided the NFL's biggest game. If Mr. Vinatieri seemed calm while he lined up his championship winning kick this season, it may have been because of experience. In 2002, the Patriots kicker drilled a 48-yarder with time expiring to clinch the Super Bowl victory. And long before Mr. Vinatieri joined the Patriots, Baltimore Colts kicker Jim O'Brien-"Lassie" to his teammates-beat the Dallas Cowboys with a 32-yard field goal with just under a minute to play, securing Baltimore's 16-13 victory in Super Bowl V. But not all last-minute kicks are remembered favorably. Buffalo kicker Scott Norwood was vilified for missing a 47-yard field goal with eight seconds left, handing the New York Giants a one-point Super Bowl win.


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