LUBBOCK, Texas (AP) – Both coaches ran their programs like boot camps, and both simply won. With a victory on Sunday, Bob Knight can join Adolph Rupp in another way.

Knight, in his 41st season as a coach, needs one more victory to tie his Hall of Fame counterpart with 876 Division I wins, No. 2 on the NCAA career list. He’ll get his first chance to tie Rupp today when Texas Tech (6-2) plays Stanford (5-1) in San Jose, Calif.

Winning isn’t the only way Knight resembles Rupp.

Joe B. Hall, who succeeded Rupp at Kentucky in 1972, said the two coaches shared a style. Both were strict disciplinarians, and both prized hard work above all else.

“There was a similarity in that coach Rupp ran a Marine boot camp,” said Hall, an assistant for seven years under Rupp. “Bobby calls himself The General. Well, Adolph was the supreme commander and he had several master sergeants under him. He was relentless in practice.”

The bulk of Knight’s wins (662) came during the 29 years he coached at Indiana. All of Rupp’s came at Kentucky, where he won four national championships between 1930 and 1972. He died in 1977.

Rupp, nicknamed the Baron of Bluegrass because some 80 percent of his players came from the hills of Kentucky, held the all-time lead in wins for 25 years. Dean Smith, who won 879 games in 36 years at North Carolina, surpassed him in March 1997.

Knight needs five wins to overtake Smith.

Rupp and Knight faced off only twice in the seven years they both coached. In December 1968, Knight’s Army team fell at Kentucky 80-65.

In Knight’s first year at Indiana, the Hoosiers beat the Wildcats 90-89 in double overtime.

Through the years, both coached great players but shared a disdain for ranking them. Once, after Rupp was asked to pick an all-time team for Kentucky, he and Knight discussed it.

“I’d make five players really happy and then those that I probably should have picked along with those five are unhappy,” Knight recalled Rupp saying. “And that’s how I’ve always felt about it. I’ve never got into best players or anything else.”

Knight’s and Rupp’s legacies part in one notable way. At Army, Indiana and Tech, Knight has never been cited for violating NCAA rules; Rupp’s 42-year stay at Kentucky, however, was marked by a player-bribery scandal in 1949. That led to a one-year NCAA suspension for the team in 1952-53.

But, then, Rupp never threw a chair across a court as Knight did in 1985 nor generated headlines for his temper.

Knight’s shenanigans are well documented. What sets him apart from other fiery coaches is a list of achievements just as impressive. Knight has won three national championships, 11 Big Ten titles and the Olympic gold medal.

“He’s as good a teacher as there’s ever been in any sport,” Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said. “He loves the game.”

While Knight insists the win record means nothing to him, Hall said he believes it meant a lot to Rupp.

“It was a record worth remembering,” Hall said. “It had status both for wins, his coaching ability and his longevity.”

Rupp would be pulling for Knight to beat his mark, Hall said.

“I think he would have respect for what coach Knight has done and see him as a worthy successor for that record,” he said.



Associated Press national sports columnist Nancy Armour contributed to this report from Kansas City, Mo.

AP-ES-12-02-06 1554EST


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