Winning in the Worst Way

Rock Knapp transformed little Northwest Academy from gridiron patsy to playoff powerhouse. So why are some parents calling for his head?

However, the Rammings' financial support continued. Through their nonprofit group headed by the coach, they paid $5,000 to underwrite Knapp's first Bayou Bowl football spectacular at Rice Stadium in December 1997. The all-star game was considered successful, drawing college recruiters and scholarship offers for some players.

The Rammings say the coach, against their wishes, then set up an all-star basketball game. The Ramming-funded foundation had no cash reserves, although the event drew a big crowd to the Houston Baptist University field house.

The couple say they reluctantly agreed to finance more scholarships for 1998, until their relationship with Knapp exploded after an incident at a preseason practice.

Jeanette Ramming learned from players that an assistant to Knapp, unhappy that a student was not in a correct playing stance, kicked the youngster. She and her husband demanded that Knapp and school officials fire the assistant. When the school refused to do that and made the man school chaplain, the Rammings withdrew their son from the program and canceled their scholarship funding.

The dispute over the assistant blossomed into a battle over another position: Knapp's coaching job.

An attorney for the Rammings began sorting out expenditures by the nonprofit sports association after Knapp resigned as president. Receipts could not be accounted for on the all-star basketball game. The Knapps say the money was turned over to a secretary working for Jeanette Ramming. The Rammings say they never got the money and have asked Houston police to investigate. Knapp denies any improper conduct and school officials accuse the Rammings of "scurrilous innuendos."

The Rammings also rallied other parents to their cause and even hired private detective John Moritz to do what Knapp critic Mahan had wanted the school to do much earlier: delve into the coach's background.

Moritz conducted phone interviews with two officials at Knapp's former school in Louisiana, Westminster principal Dennis Chadeayne and Knapp's successor, athletic director David Bonham. Chadeayne said Knapp was a shoe salesman in Chicago when Westminster hired him in 1991.

Chadeayne, a retired Baton Rouge oil company executive, told Moritz that, soon after Knapp's hiring, "all of a sudden there were three or four hired guns showed up in the way of athletes, kids who were certainly not from the traditional background or fit the traditional profile of kids who normally came to our school.

"And believe it or not, every one of them was a heck of a football player. There was a quarterback, a running back, a monster lineman, a couple of linebackers and a couple of others."

Controversy followed Knapp, Chadeayne says. "He was basically a man who would answer to nobody. By strength of personality and physical presence he would roll over people. The kids who played for him would mostly have died for him."

In what could be a verbatim description of the current dispute at the Houston school, Chadeayne says Knapp built a cult following from players and a select group of athletic boosters.

"They were very loyal to Ted. It brought a lot of division in our school, serious division between the instructional or academic people and athletics."

Chadeayne says Knapp left when the school refused his demands to drop programs -- such as soccer, hiking and camping -- which competed with football for resources. "We literally called his bluff; we didn't cave to his demands."

He was glad to see Knapp go. "Probably in another year it would have been him or me. I had no working relationship with him or control as high school principal."

Knapp insists he had an offer on the table to stay at Westminster when he left and he was on good terms with the school administration and had many supporters on the staff and board. As to why Chadeayne would say negative things about him, both Knapp and his wife say they have no idea.

The background review also revealed that Knapp's diploma and master's degree from Faith Theological Seminary are no more than products of six-month correspondence courses. Knapp jokingly refers to them as a "blue light special." They do not qualify him for a Texas teaching certification. Knapp says Northwest Academy administrators were well aware of that when they hired him.

Asked whether he has ever played on a pro team, Knapp answers no and explains he had not listed it on his resume. But had he told people that he played for the 49ers?

"Uh, I have told people that I have gone out to San Francisco to try out as a free agent and did not make it."

And what about the comments to people that he played during a strike-shortened season and was injured in a game against the Oakland Raiders?

"I -- I did tell players and coaches I went out to the West Coast and tried out and was injured in a game, which is not the truth."

He says he has cleared the air about the lie. "I have dealt with it the best that I think a man can deal with it: by telling everyone, players, coaches."

Since his name is nowhere to be found on the San Francisco 49ers' list of every player in team history, Knapp has no choice but to tell the truth.

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1 comments
El_Vitriole
El_Vitriole

Knapp has travelled all over the USA, coaching for 2 or 3 years at a dozen 'Christian" schools, talking the talk and definitely helping the football teams achieve wins.  However, in his latter years in Florida and Georgia, he represented himself as having won "Nine State Championships in Six States" which is completely FALSE and a LIE.  He won two State titles in 8-Man football, in 1980 and 1990 and the rest of the time he did well but did not win another State Title.  The man is a LIAR and the TRUTH is not in him.  However, he possesses the ability to fool the faithful and contiues to this day to find stupid people who are all to ready to believe every word he says.

 
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