McKnight’s Antics Are Tiresome

Take a memo.

To: Mater Dei’s Gary McKnight.

From: An interested observer.

Subject: Perspective.


Gary, trust me on this, the high school sports world isn’t out to get you. Oh, sometimes it may want to get away from you. But there’s no conspiracy. There haven’t been any meetings. You can drive by the grassy knoll.

So chill.

Enough with the ugly scenes. It should be beneath you as an educator.

That postgame taunting of Ocean View players. “All you guys do are cheap shots. Your coach teaches it . . . I know what he does. I used to coach here.” Was it necessary?


That postgame taunting of a fan who criticized your point guard in Las Vegas. “What do you know, you’re just a (expletive) from the stands.” Was it necessary?

That taunting of the fan during a game, the one in San Diego who heckled after you yelled at officials for not calling a foul. “That was for you, (expletive),” you shouted after your son, Clay, canned a three-pointer moments later. Was it necessary?

These are the images framed in people’s minds. Not a pretty picture, eh? Yes, you make an impression. So does a cleaver. But how do you want to be remembered?

Gary, no one has a vendetta. No one has you on their agenda, they just don’t want to be in the gymnasium when you coach. It’s not an upbeat kind of an evening.


You hammer on and yammer at referees from opening tip to final buzzer--even in games you win by 40-50-60 points. And we’re not talking a little chipping here, but full-throttle abuse. The act’s getting old. It’s boring. It’s childish. It’s offensive.

Sorry to be so blunt, but it’s time to take stock. Or has your perspective gone Dixie? This is high school basketball. It’s supposed to be a nice little game, not an invitation to brow-beat. You’ve got a nasty side and it’s been showing. Gee whiz, not even Nixon had such an enemies’ list.

Did you really need to get in UCLA Coach Jim Harrick’s face a couple weeks ago? Is it true UCLA will never see another Mater Dei player? Not that it ever saw one before. But what do your players think of it? Word is, sophomore Schea Cotton is awfully fond of UCLA. Will he, too, be shunned, if he disobeys orders and becomes a Bruin?

And just what did Harrick do? Story has it, he reneged on a deal to offer Clay a scholarship. If he did, then that wasn’t a nice thing to do. But Clay isn’t destined to be fry chef at the local fast-food joint. He did land a scholarship to UC Irvine. Pretty nice place for an education, especially when it comes free.


Take the high road, Gary. Remember, vindictiveness isn’t a charming trait.

These are tough times for high school sports. You’re not making them any better.

The message you send to your players and parents and fans is one of arrogance. You act as if the world revolves around Mater Dei basketball and everyone is so jealous. It doesn’t and they’re not.

You try to bully referees, coaches, tournament directors, section officials and reporters. But they don’t fear you, they pity you. You’re creating your own hell. Time to be happy.


You can blame the media. You can blame referees. You can blame other coaches. But the problem is with you. You’re going to win 99% of your games. Some seasons, it’ll be 100%. Many would love to be in your shoes, but not for what they cost. Your dignity.

You’ve built an awfully impressive program at Mater Dei, now it’s time to build a coach to match. Take a step back and take a good look.

You’re a high school boys’ basketball coach--one of 75 in Orange County.

Time to act like one.