HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - Steve Knight has led William Carey to thirteen NAIA tournaments in 37 years of coaching.
Thirty-six years after taking the Crusaders to their first national tournament (1983), coach Knight and company prepare for the program’s first semifinal appearance.
Fourth-seeded WCU (25-9) battles No. 1 seed Georgetown College (31-4) on Monday at 6 p.m. in Kansas City, Missouri.
As many folks have followed the Crusaders run from Hattiesburg, some of Knight’s former players are rooting for Carey to capture its first men’s basketball national title.
“Coach Knight loves basketball,” said Oak Grove basketball coach LaRon Brumfield, who played for Carey from 1989-92. “He loves to coach. He loves William Carey. He puts his heart and soul into it. When your leader’s doing that, you can't help but love it."
"The guys that come through that door and play for Knight, that's what you're going to get,” said Allen Stinson, a former Carey player from 1996-98. “You're going to learn how to fight. I don't expect nothing less than them being up there fighting."
"The influence he gave a lot of us – who some of us probably didn't have a dad at home,” said Jefferson Davis basketball coach Tony Woody, one of Knight’s first players from 1982-85. “He became that dad and it didn’t matter about the color. He treated us all the same. He is well deserving of that opportunity to play for a final four."
“I think after 37 years and to finally reach the final four, I think it’s amazing,” said Collins basketball coach Kyle Pope, another former WCU player. “That’s one coach’s dream is to always win the championship. I wish him well. I wish he could win it all and bring it back to the Hattiesburg, Mississippi area.”