BEAUMONT – After leading the Lamar University men's basketball team to 20 wins and a berth in the NCAA Tournament in his first season, head coach Pat Knight was honored as the Newsmaker of the Year by the Press Club of Southeast Texas. The award was handed out at the 21st Annual Excellence in the Media & Newsmaker of the Year Awards Banquet on Friday evening.
Knight guided the Cardinals to their sixth NCAA Tournament appearance and first since the 1999-2000 season. To get there, Lamar capped its run through the Southland Conference Tournament with a convincing 70-49 win in the title game over rival McNeese State.
Knight, who became the third Lamar coach to take the team to the NCAA Tournament in his first season, also led the Cardinals to their first 20-win season since 1987-88. Lamar's 23 wins ties for the third highest single season total in school history.
"I'd like to thank the Press Club because I'm sure there were a lot of people who were just as worthy as me to get this award," said Knight. "I'm fortunate enough that I had a really good team to back me up and a good staff that helped me get this award.
"I'm excited for the program. I'm really getting honored for what my team did and my coaching staff did. There the guys that deserve this. I was just along for the ride."
The banquet was held on the 8th floor of the Mary and John Gray Library on Lamar's campus. In addition to the Newsmaker of the Year, the annual event held by the Press Club of Southeast Texas recognizes those who write, report, photograph and broadcast the news.
Knight's award was presented by the president of the Press Club of Southeast Texas, Davilyn Walston, who serves as the public information officer and law enforcement coordinator for the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Texas.
Knight came to Lamar after 10 seasons at Texas Tech, including the final three-plus years as head coach. Named head coach designate at Tech prior to the 2005-06 season, Knight took over for his Hall-of-Fame father Bob Knight toward the end of the 2007-08 season.