Bobby Knight or Dean Smith – Who’s The Best Coach Of All Time?


While this is a deviation from my normal entries – the unexpected resignation of Bob Knight from Texas Tech caused me to think about the legacy that one leaves after a career of choices and consequences. Bob Knight is known for two things: (1) his basketball brilliance; and (2) his fiery temper. As the winningest men’s coach in major college basketball, Bob Knight just walked away from his team leaving his son, Pat Knight, in charge.

“There’s a transition that’s going to take place here from me to Pat and I’ve dwelt on this all year long … how it would be best for him and for the team and for what we can do in the long run to make this the best thing for Texas Tech,” Knight told the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal.

According to an Associated Press report:

“He’s ready,” Pat Knight said during his weekly radio show. “He’s tired.”

Hance said: “I think Bob is through with coaching. I think he got to the point where it wasn’t fun for him.

“He thought about it Sunday all day and talked to his wife and decided ’This is something I want to do.”’

Knight told the news paper he informed the team before practice Monday.

There is no question that Bob Knight has had an outstanding career in men’s college basketball wins. But, what is his legacy? It has been said that Bob Knight is the best coach of all time; however, an equally stellar career in men’s college basketball was the career of Dean Smith at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Smith had a great career and a dramatically different style than that of Bob Knight.

According, again, to the AP report: “I guess you can never be surprised at some of the things Bob does,” former UCLA coach John Wooden told the AP. “I don’t think there’s ever been a better teacher of the game of basketball than Bob. I don’t always approve of his methods, but his players for the most part are very loyal to him. I would say that no player that ever played for him would not say he did not come out a stronger person.”

“I didn’t know, I’ve never really known when I was going to step down from this job. As I thought about it, my first thought was at the end of this season,” Knight told the Lubbock paper. “My thinking was .. the best thing for the long run for this team would be for Pat and his staff to coach these remaining 10 games.”

Unorthodox – perhaps – but you can’t deny the results of his coaching. But for those who follow college basketball – of the two, who do you think is the best coach of all time? Would Bob Knight be at the top of the list or would you vote for Dean Smith – who had a professional stature about him that earned him respect nationwide?

What are your thoughts?

For now Motivational Speaker – Chuck Gallagher – signing off…

7 Responses to Bobby Knight or Dean Smith – Who’s The Best Coach Of All Time?

  1. garrettgd says:

    bobby knight by far… he knows how the game is played and he helps mature players into very smart and strong professional players

  2. SinDe says:

    Dean Smith by far! Knew the game and not only helped players mature into strong professional players, but helped players mature into strong professional men. Not only did he advocate basketball, but he taught the young men values that went beyond the court. And, he maintained one of the highest graduation percentages in college basketball.
    And, of course, he had a real eye for talent.

  3. Joe Knight says:

    Dean has the most wins in the same number of years (32). Bob hung on for 6 extra years to break the all time wins record. Deancould have stayed and posted over 1000 wins had he wanted. probably would have added another NCAA championship or two. Dean was a better person as well. Bob was a great coach but his demons prevented him from achieving his full potential.
    As a UNC fan I am biased I guess but I have listed several thoughtful and objective reasons for my opionion. I also love pointing out that Dean’s record against Coach K of Duke was 40wins 14 losses. My top 5 coaches of all time
    1. John Wooden….can’t argue with 10 NCAA championships
    2. Dean Smith… In some ways the best of all time
    3. Bob Knight…. without those demons he could have been #1
    4. Adolph Rupp… yes he was a racist but he was a great coach
    5. Coach K…… Still has the potential to rise up further. Can never surpase Dean though due to that pesky head to head record.

  4. Rick Jones says:

    The question I would always ask. Would you want your son to play for this coach? Despite all that Coach Knight had his players stand for–he ultimately didn’t demonstrate those characteristics himself. SELF CONTROL, DISCIPLINE & PROFESSIONALISM. Both could coach,, both could teach but Coach Smith did it in a much MORE professional manner, with more dignity, treating all people fairly and with respect (not bullying). To answer the question about my son playing for him. YES-Dean Smith/NO-Bob Knight. FORGET THE WINS/LOSSES (of which they both have the resume) JMO

  5. Joe Cancemi says:

    Coach Wooden said it best, as I recall seeing one time, “Bob Knight is a great coach but I wouldn’t want my son to play for him” My apologies if Coach Wooden(best of all time in my opinion and I am a UNC grad!) didn’t actually say this!
    I respect Bob Knight but he ruled as much from fear as respect?? On the other hand if you wked hard and showed respect to the team and coaches, you probably had little to fear from Coach Knight. Both Coach Knight and Smith were exceptional atheletes, probably Coach Wooden also. i can’t help but get emotional thinking about Coach Wooden as he is in his golden years.

  6. sara Stone says:

    Neither is the greatest basketball coach of all time. John Wooden, coached UCLA in 10 NCAA championships, six of them were in a row, along with having four undefeated seasons. Bobby Knight only had on undefeated season. Bobby Knight was a bully and yes he understood the game of basketball better than any person during his prime, but he taught in a way that was with lack of self-control and fear. His players do not hold nearly as much respect that John Wooden’s players have for him. He cared more about his players futures outside of sports than just in college. That is what makes a great coach. He truely cared about his players.

  7. […] Bob Knight […]

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