When the update came through via Twitter, the first thought that raced through the minds of Indiana fans was, ‘Is Coach Crean going to bring back Bobby?’ He did, after all, say he wanted to bring every former coach, player and manager back to Bloomington. (If he had more than 140 characters, I’m sure a disclaimer would have been added for Kelvin Sampson and Eli Holman. No one throws a potted plant and gets away with it!)
From all indications, the return of the General to Assembly Hall is unlikely to happen anytime soon or possibly, ever. Through back channels, hands have been extended and overtures made. With no results.
Despite the over the top pleas by Dick Vitale and the majority of the IU fanbase, hard feelings about his dismissal still run deep for Coach Knight. And that may always be the case even though the administration that chased him from Bloomington is long gone.
Knight never has been or never will be a man that forgives or forgets easily. If you peel away the bully mentality that dominates his personality, this is a man that is still hurt by the way things ended at Indiana.
From Indiana’s perspective, the major factor is in place to facilitate a reunion: Tom Crean. Knight was never going to acknowledge IU under Mike Davis or Kelvin Sampson. Knight’s relationship with Davis ended once his former assistant took over. And his tolerance for a cheater like Sampson was zero. But with Crean, the program finally has a coach that even Knight would be proud of. Even if he never admits it.