A Part of History

Tech staff, players relish opportunity to bring Knight landmark victory



Assistant coaches and players knew this time would come.

When Darryl Dora was recruited out of Gonzales four years ago, he had an idea that his next head coach would become No. 1 in career coaching victories.

Bob Knight's time has come and his team is aware.

"When I first got recruited, stuff like (the record) comes up, but I'm real excited about it," Dora said. "We really don't speak out loud about it or Coach never talks about it or even in the locker room."

Martin Zeno was recruited three years ago out of Sulphur, La. He said he can't help but thinking about being a part of history, mostly when he's away from practice or games.

Jodi Miller / Staff
Coach Bob Knight celebrates after his 880th win with players, from left, Charlie Burgess, Tanner Ogden, Martin Zeno and Tyler Hoffmeister.

"Every now and then I've thought about it," Zeno said. "A couple of days ago, I was walking on campus to school and thought 'We'll be a team that is remembered because Coach broke the record.' If you sit back and think about it I'm sure it will hit us."

Assistant coach Chris Beard has been with Knight since he came to Lubbock six years ago.

Beard has interviewed for head coaching jobs elsewhere, as recently as prior to this season. He said, though, that some of the jobs didn't outweigh remaining with Knight, as well as being a part of history.

"It's going to be a special time. I know that Coach, and I think it's genuine when Coach downplays it," Beard said. "I think it's important to him, but it's not any more important than our next game or our next recruit or our next season. Obviously, when I first started working for him I kind of looked down the line and knew it was going to happen at some point. But I didn't know if I was going to be here or not with Coach, but the fact that I am, it's going to be a special season.

"I wasn't a great player and who knows if I'm ever going to have an opportunity to coach a major college basketball team, but this is something that personally, nobody can take away from me because I'm going to be there in the locker room and on that bench the night that coach does it."

Les Fertig, director of basketball operations, was hired at Indiana 10 days before Knight was fired. The two reunited when Knight was hired at Tech.

"It's obviously a rare opportunity to be a part of this," Fertig said. "Not many people get a chance to experience something like this. It's like when (Knight) got his 800th victory. That was a special deal and I feel the exact same way about this. This is something that I'll always remember and will be one of the highlights of my career."

Bubba Jennings played for the Red Raiders from 1980-85. He joined Knight's staff when he arrived in Lubbock.

"This couldn't be any better for me having played at Texas Tech and now being on the staff at Tech," Jennings said. "I've always considered Coach Knight to be a great coach and it's an honor for me to be here when this happens."

Jon Murray has been a trainer at Texas Tech for 10 years. When Knight was hired as coach, Murray was kept on the staff.

"I think it's an awesome moment to be around a coach that has not only been a legendary person because he teaches about the game but also about life," Murray said. "He demands excellence and that helps me improve. I've cherished every day I've been able to work with him and learn from him."

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