Adkins reflects on his experience with Knight

Published 10:36 pm Wednesday, November 1, 2023

By Jim Walker

People used a lot of words to describe legendary college basketball coach Bob Knight, but a local former basketball standout had personal experiences with Knight and had a very positive reflection.

Malcolm Adkins

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Knight, 83, who died on Wednesday, won three NCAA Division 1 championships with the Indiana Hoosiers, made five Final Four appearances, was a member of the Ohio State Buckeyes 1960 National Championship team, was the Big Ten Coach of the Year five times and the Associated Press top coach three times.

Knight finished with a 902-371 coaching record and his win total was the most in college basketball history until it was broken by one of his former players Mike Krzyzewski.

Knight and Krzyzewski both figured into the life of former Chesapeake Panthers’ All-Ohio guard Malcolm “Mac”Adkins.

After playing for the Panthers, Army freshman coach Don DeVoe made two visits to see Adkins in an effort to bring him to West Point. Adkins also got a letter from John Hopkins University freshman coach Jim Valvano.

“I didn’t even know what John Hopkins was. I thought, ‘Who is this guy?’” Adkins said.

Adkins got his appointment to West Point and found himself on the freshman team with Krzyzewski who was the team’s point guard.

Knight was the varsity head coach and Adkins said he had limited interaction due to being on the freshman team.

“He was a nice guy. He was tough as nails like a drill sergeant, but a nice guy, He cared about the kids,” said Adkins who was inducted into the Chesapeake Hall of Fame this year.

“He yelled and was a tough disciplinarian, but I remember when you went into the dressing room you laughed about it. You didn’t pout about it. Maybe the boys today are coddled too much.”

Adkins said Knight reminded him of his high school coach Danny Russell.

“Danny Russell did the same thing. He was a disciplinarian. And we would laugh about him. We’d go home and talk about him and laugh,” said Adkins who then chuckled about a less than flattering comparison.

“They both yelled at you but it had no effect. We had a game at New Boston and we got beat. He threw peanuts all over the floor. Bob Knight threw a chair. They had to sweep the floor.”

And with that, Adkins took a deep breath and gave one lasting thought about Knight.

“Yeah. He was a nice guy.”