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NORTHWAY: Steve Knight should be first-ballot Hall of Famer

william careyTrivia question: Which men’s basketball head coach has the most career wins at one school in Mississippi collegiate history, all levels? Hint: He set the record several years ago, is still at the same institution, still winning games.

The answer is: Steve Knight.

Wonder how many of you are thinking — who? And, that’s a shame.

Steve Knight of William Carey University in Hattiesburg just wrapped up his 31st season leading the men’s basketball program, and has now amassed an amazing 537 career wins. That is not only tops in the state across all collegiate levels, but also 16th all-time among all NAIA basketball coaches past and present.

Starting as a graduate assistant in 1981 and taking over as head coach the following year, Knight’s teams have won 20-plus games 14 times. They have won six Gulf Coast Athletic Conference championships, six District 30 championships, an SSAC divisional title and made seven NAIA national tournament appearances.

William Carey basketball coach Steve Knight

William Carey basketball coach Steve Knight

In total, he has been named Coach of the Year by various athletic organizations and publications 10 times.

Knight has also won a ton of awards as Crusader athletic director, a position he assumed in 1987. Recently, he was named Athletic Director of the Year by the Southern States Athletic Conference. Knight has been named the GCAC Athletic Director of the Year four times, was NAIA Region XIII Athletic Director of the Year in 2003-2004 and selected as General Sports Turf Systems Athletics Director of the Year–NAIA Southeast Region

In 2002-2003, Knight, who earned his B.S. at the University of Southern Mississippi and M.Ed. at Carey, served as president of the NABC-NAIA Men’s Basketball Coaches Association.

Oh, since 1996 Knight has served as an assistant professor for physical education at Carey.

And, has been married to wife, Regina, for 32 years (they have two daughters, Shanna and Lindsay, and three grandsons, Christian, Brayden and Jackson).

In short, Knight is a winner, a man who is dedicated and committed to his family, school and profession — and a really good guy to boot.

So, why the lack of ink on Knight? He’s a low-key guy, and maybe that’s one reason why more people aren’t familiar with him and his achievements. Certainly Knight is not going to talk himself up — it’s just not his character.

But, without a doubt, Steve Knight has earned a first-ballot entry into the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame.

If he ever retires.


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About Wally Northway

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