It’s no secret that Bob Knight’s departure from Indiana was less than amicable. Myles Brand, the current NCAA president but then the president of Indiana University, canned Knight in 2000 over his repeated episodes of outbursts and other “unacceptable behavior.” Knight eventually ended up at Texas Tech and hasn’t been back to Indiana since.
Shame, really, seeing as how he delivered three titles to the Hoosier State and ran a pretty damned good program overall. Never so much as a sniff of scandal, graduated nearly every player who came into the program, and littered the NBA with dozens of drafted players. It’s a hell of a legacy, even if it ended badly.
Apparently, even Indiana’s coming around to that fact, as Knight’s going to be inducted into their Hall of Fame.
It is part love letter, part olive branch. But mostly, for Indiana University’s athletic department, it’s the right thing, the overdue thing to do.
IU will announce this morning that former basketball coach Bob Knight is among seven luminaries who will be inducted into the Indiana University Intercollegiate Athletics Hall of Fame in November.
That’s right: he wasn’t in the Hall of Fame yet. Stunning; you’d think that would have gone down in the late ’80s or ’90s.
The question, then, is whether Knight will return for the induction, since as we mentioned earlier, he hasn’t been back since his dismissal. Or whether he’ll return, but deliver a speech that sounds suspiciously like a locker room tirade from a couple decades ago:
That would be the highest of comedy, right?
But really. We think he will show up. Indiana AD Fred Glass has already sent him a hand-written letter, and Knight doesn’t seem like the type who would hold a grudge against the school for some stuff that went down while some other (since-departed) people were in charge. Yes, he’s loud and foul-mouthed, but somewhere nestled among the unprintable words is a pretty strict and consistent code of ethics that he preaches - even as he struggles to adhere to it himself.
But he’ll be back. He’ll be back because the standing ovation he’ll receive as soon as his name is announced will tell him all he’s wanted to hear for the past decade: “You were right, Mr. Knight. You were right the entire time.” Whether that’s true is debatable, of course, but it’s what he’ll hear.