Dec. 21, 2012
After a career at Rice that has spanned five decades as both the head coach of the Rice Men's Basketball team and later as the Executive Director of the "R" Association, Don Knodel has announced he will retire effective at the end of 2012. Former Rice baseball standout Jimmy Comerota will assume the reins of the letterwinners' association.
Rice will honor Knodel in ceremonies during the men's basketball game with Memphis on January 16 at Tudor Fieldhouse. Prior to the game that night, a special reception for all former letterwinners will be held in the Trauber Suite.
Knodel came to Rice in March of 1966 when he replaced George Carlisle as head coach of the Rice men's team. Known as "The Silent K," Knodel took over a team that had won just three games in the previous two seasons. After several years of steady improvement, he led the Owls to a Southwest Conference title since 1954 and a berth in the 1970 NCAA Tournament.
During Knodel's tenure, Rice had two players named All-Southwest Conference. Greg Williams was named the 1969 Southwest Conference Player of the Year while Gary Reist was named All-SWC in back-to-back seasons (1970 and 1971). Knodel's 76 victories rank fifth all-time at Rice.
Knodel left Rice in 1974, but returned in April of 1999 as the Executive Director of the "R" Association and oversaw that organization's grown and development over the next 12 years. He was inducted to the Rice Athletics Hall of Fame in 2009.
Comerota earned four letters in baseball and graduated from Rice in 2010 with a double major in Economics and Sport Management. He was a three-time member of the C-USA All Academic Baseball team and was twice named Rice's Scholar Athlete for Baseball. He was drafted in the 18th round of the 2010 draft by the Arizona Diamondbacks and played in their minor league system for three years. He was a 2011 Northwest League All Star.