Why is Bobby Knight Explosive?

Bobby Knight is presently the head basketball coach at Texas Tech. Prior to being hired by them Bobby Knight spent twenty-nine years coaching basketball at Indiana University. In those twenty-nine years he coached many successful basketball teams and in fact, brought three NCAA basketball championships back to Indiana. He was recognized as a strict disciplinarian and used a “hands on” coaching style. Coach Knight was feared and respected not only by the opposing team, but by his own players as well. His winning tradition at Indiana University made him an icon for college basketball. Here is a man who was at the top of his game and appeared to have it all. So what happened? Why did Indiana fire him as their head basketball coach? Essentially Bobby Knight lost his job when he lost his temper. It has been said that people are a lot like steel, once they loose their temper they are rendered useless. Unfortunately when most people think of Bobby Knight, they picture an irate coach throwing a chair across the basketball court dramatically underscoring his disagreement with an official’s call. His explosive and volatile temper ultimately caused him to be placed on probation at Indiana University after he chocked one of his players during practice.
Why are some people more aggressive and volatile than others? Twenty-four hundred years ago, Hippocrates, the father of medicine, theorized that we are born into one of four primary temperament styles and that each style has it’s own unique physiology, character traits and outlook on life; Choleric (aggressive), Sanguine (emotional), Phlegmatic (passive) and Melancholy (analytical). Of these four styles, the Choleric or Worker style is the most impatient, ill natured and short tempered. The Worker temperament style is the D in the D.I.S.C. profiling system. Bobby Knight has the Worker as his primary temperament style and therefore like most Workers, has a challenge with anger management. This style is often referred to as a “Workaholic or Type A” personality. When they get angry their tendency is to explode like a volcano and then get over it quickly and go about their business as if nothing had happened. Workers are aggressive, no-nonsense people who seek power and control. They are goal-oriented individuals with a practical, bottom line approach to life. The Worker is extroverted by nature. People who have the Worker as their primary temperament style are physically large, powerful people with broad shoulders. Other well-known Workers are; Mike Tyson, John Wayne, Vince Lombardi, George C. Scott, Bea Arthur, Pete Rose, Janet Reno, O.J. Simpson, Joseph Stalin, George S. Patton and Jim Brown.
Bobby Knight developed a winning tradition while at Indiana University by demanding that his players learn how to play under pressure and adversity. Ironically, self-control was the one thing coach Knight was unable to give back to them! Bobby Knight is a good example of a bad example. He reminds us all that the strength of our temperament style taken to the extreme becomes our greatest personal weakness. He has been given a second chance to coach at Texas Tech. Let’s hope that he learned his lesson and will control his legendary, explosive temper!


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