I Don’t Want To Be Bobby Knight

I had an anger issue when it came to basketball in my younger days. I don’t know where exactly I got that from. I loved, and still love, the clip of Bobby Knight tossing the chair across the floor, so maybe I just wanted to be Bobby Knight. I don’t want to be Bob Knight anymore.

I’d love his success. Three National Championships, plus one as a player. Five Final Four appearances. Eleven Big Ten titles. A 902-371 career coaching record.

All of that success, but all that my generation remembers him for is throwing that chair across the floor.

The Minnesota State Boys’ Basketball Championships came to a close this weekend and as usual, you will barely hear anything about the Single-A and Double-A schools. All you will hear about is De La Salle and Apple Valley defeating an before-the-game undefeated team.

Single-A saw Rushford-Peterson win the championship. It was Rushford-Peterson’s tenth appearance at the state tournament since 2000. Thomas Vix has been the coach for 30 years and has been at the helm of a lot of good teams. I’ve never seen him yell.

Between tight semi-finals and championship games, from the stands the man has never appeared to yell. I’m starting to doubt that he can actually physically yell.

Vix shows little to no emotion throughout the game, in a good way. The most powerful thing that is shown is a death glare to an official or one of his own players. The glare is usually reserved for a player that has done something against his liking and it works. That look could cut through steel.

He’s found a lot of success by never raising his voice during the game.

The same thing is happening in Ames, Iowa.

As we head into Selection Sunday, the Iowa State Cyclones have won five straight games after falling behind by double-digits. That tenacity brought the Cyclones to their second straight Big 12 Tournament Championship and a lot of momentum headed into the NCAA tournament.

When looking over at the sideline, Head Coach Fred Hoiberg has stayed cool, calm and collected during all of the ups and downs, the behinds and the comebacks.

There’s evidence that the Bob Knight style works, too.

While Rushford-Peterson’s Vix doesn’t show any emotion, Triple-A’s De La Salle just won their fourth straight championship under the watch of Dave Thorson. Thorson is a man who never sits down and is constantly yelling. Yelling to the point that a totally neutral party in attendance will want him to sit down, breathe and shut up.

A team imitates their coach. There’s a lot of different styles in basketball that are successful and a lot of different successful coaches as well, there’s no one true way to go to lead a team to the promised land, but I know what’s more impressive.

The cool, calm and collected coach.

It looks better. Plus it makes it appear that you’ve coached your team to the best of your ability to prepare for the game. If the kids haven’t bought in our caught on by mid-game, there’s a 99.9% chance that it isn’t going to happen that night.

I don’t know what Vix and Hoiberg are like behind closed doors. I don’t know if they yell their head off during practice, but I do know that I don’t want to be Bob Knight. I want to be Thomas Vix. I want to be Fred Hoiberg.

I’ll just throw my chair across the floor in celebration.


Fred Hoiberg Needs to Stay at Iowa State

Credit: Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

A hug can mean a million things. The list expanded to a million and one on Sunday when North Carolina coach Roy Williams embraced Iowa State coach Fred Hoiberg signaling the end of the game with the Cyclones of Iowa State advancing to the Sweet 16. The hug told the whole arena and the viewers at home the game was over, not the time running out because the NCAA apparently can’t hire anyone who has ever run a clock before. The clock ran out on North Carolina Sunday, but the advancement of the Cyclones might have again started the clock on their own coach.

A year ago, Fred Hoiberg’s name was quite popular around the state of Minnesota with rumors and hopes of him being Tubby Smith’s replacement at the University of Minnesota. I’m sure that The Mayor’s name will be highlighted once Iowa State’s tournament run ends, but with a different basketball squad in Minneapolis.

It’s more than likely that Rick Adelman will not be coming back as the Minnesota Timberwolves head coach next season. Adelman will be 68 when training camp opens which will follow a third failed attempt at making the playoffs despite having a remarkable Kevin Love healthy for the duration of the season. This leaves a vacant coaching spot on an NBA team that should be in the playoffs given the right circumstances.

Hoiberg will be offered the job. It simply makes no sense not to offer him the job and the Timberwolves would be doing themselves an injustice by not asking the former Wolves player and exec, but Hoiberg needs to stay in Ames. He’s The Mayor for crying out loud.

For those of you that aren’t familiar with Hoiberg, here’s a quick rundown: really good quarterback at Ames High School and turned down the University of Nebraska’s offer of a football scholarship, won the Iowa state high school basketball championship as a senior and was named Iowa’s Mr. Basketball, played basketball at Iowa State and was beloved, played ten years in the NBA but forced to retire due to a heart condition, worked in the front office of the Timberwolves and now is sitting in the Sweet 16 as head coach in his return to Iowa State amidst their third straight NCAA Tournament appearance.

The Mayor is loved in Ames and there’s just no denying that, but he’s also very loved in Minnesota where he was a big part of the last Timberwolves teams that were actually worth a damn. Minnesotans love him so much we really wanted him to be the Gophers coach, but nothing makes the Gopher job better to him than his hometown/alma mater Iowa State. The same should apply for the Timberwolves.

I beg Fred Hoiberg to stay in Ames and coach the Iowa State Cyclones until he can’t coach anymore. There’s something special in being loyal to one team and I believe Fred Hoiberg can be that guy. He’ll never be fired by Iowa State, he’ll have the job as long as he wants and I hope that is a long time.

Loyalty to one team rarely happens anymore, but rarely does one’s town reflect such loyalty back on someone the way it appears that Ames, Iowa does onto its unofficial Mayor in Hoiberg. The Mayor is going to get a lot of calls trying to move him into a bigger pond, but sometimes greatness comes in small packages, kind of like a hug.