It was ten years ago today …

  • 09/10/2010 7:41 am in

Today marks the 10-year anniversary of Bob Knight being relieved of his duties as head basketball coach at Indiana University. Time flies, right? A lot, obviously, has transpired in the time since Knight was fired.

Mike Davis rallied the program, albeit briefly, for a run to the national championship game in 2002. Davis then failed to sustain his early success, missed on several key in-state recruits and resigned near the conclusion of the 2006 season. He also allowed Bracey Wright to shoot many ill-advised jump shots. And to his credit, he recruited D.J. White.

Kelvin Sampson, arguably one of the worst hires for a major program in history, brought the program to its knees in less than two years via excessive use of the telephone. In the process, the 2007-2008 team, which was capable of a deep NCAA Tournament run, fell apart at the seams. Dan Dakich admirably attempted to fill-in, but ultimately, the damage had already been done.

And then IU hired Tom Crean, who inherited a cess pool of characters from Sampson and had to clean house. Crean is, in my opinion, ultimately going to bring Indiana back to national prominence. You can quote me.

As far as Knight goes, the Inside the Hall staff (all three of us) debated on how to approach this anniversary. But Knight’s reluctance to attend his Hall of Fame induction should signal the end, at least from our perspective, of any public attempt by the University to bring him back.

So with that, we’re going to open this thread and welcome your thoughts on the last ten years, positive Knight memories, negative Knight memories or anything else you’d like to discuss.

(Photo from the SI Vault)

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  • It’s been a rough ten years (aside from our tourney run in ’02), but people tend to forget that the latter part of the ’90s were no picnic either … early exits in the tourney (Pepperdine, anyone?). It’s a shame that we had to go through Davis and Sampson to get Crean, but I think Knight had quit working hard and I think it was time for him to retire — although I wish it would’ve been on his own/better terms.If we land Zeller and a couple of the 2012 guys that we’ve got our eyes on, I think it will have all been worth it. I’m so ready to move forward and win some games in the tourney. Onward and upward!

  • Anonymous

    After 48 years of marriage, the propriety of Coach Knight’s dismissal is still the one issue that may ultimately cause my parents to separate. My Mom grew tired of him over the last five years or so that he was there. My Dad is still very angry over how the whole thing went down.

    As for me? I loved Coach Knight, and will always have fond memories. I was 14 in 1987, so I grew up during the absolute best time to be an IU fan. Still, there is something very nice about having the focus of the program be on the court. The game. It sure has not been that for the last ten years. It was not that for the last five years of Coach Knight’s tenure, either. It’s coming back to that now, thank goodness, and thank you Coach Crean.

  • Anonymous

    The old regime at IU could not have handled the Knight situation worse. I will never forget the AD at that time being bood at center court while presenting an award to an athlete. I asked at the time “what did he think would happen?” The clash of egos could not have allowed this situation to end well. Personally, I am pleased to be back in the business of basketball and done with the garbage! GO CTC!!!

  • Tom

    I’ve been going to IU basketball games for about 15 years now and one of my first memories was watching Knight get ejected by Ted Valentine. I remember that after he ranted and yelled at him a good 5 minutes he walked all the way across the court to exit just so he could walk by Valentine one more time. I also remember that the crowd was going nuts the entire time this rant went on. It amazed me as a kid that people cheered on a man who was acting well like a kid…but when you hang up 3 banners, win multiple Big Ten titles, and consistently deliver good, hard working teams that’s the kind of respect you deserve from your fans!

  • Phillip

    Alex, I would totally disagree with you. Why should it signal the end? Everyone quickly forgets why Indiana has 5 banners hanging from the rafters not to mention the graduation rate or that library on 10th street. The University should continue to reconcile as this will provide many intangible benefits.

  • Old Timer

    The real loss is a coach with a discernible personality. Basketball at Indiana was a lot of fun for a long time, win or lose, because it was fun to watch Knight.

  • Hoosier Clarion

    The marking of this date only focuses more on how poor the management skills of Brand and his minions were and how negative their actions were to the university. RMK’s coaching performance during his last 5-6 years at IU was absolutely affected by it. Many extremely poor hires can also be laid at Brand’s feet both during and after his tenure. Fiscal stability was affected even more. Then the sham turned into shame as Brand leveraged the firing of Coach Knight to get the top spot at the NCAA . Then to make sure his image would not take a hit for favoritism he helped lay the wood to IU basketball for the second time in a decade. There is no doubt in my mind RMK shot from the hip to often but Miles Brand behind the scenes was a loose cannon 24/7.

  • Anonymous

    I have nothing but respect for Coach Knight and what he did for the Indiana Hoosiers when he was in Bloomington for all those years. I understand why he is angry at the school, and he has every right to be, but with all the administration gone that made the decision to fire him his attitude should be much improved toward the University he helped build. I know that it was time for Knight to retire or be fired because he was getting in more and more trouble and the team was not producing like it had in the best. Ultimately, this was the best thing for the basketball team to happen next to Kelvin Sampson slipping away in the night.

  • GFDave

    I’m tired of the Knight wars and simply wish to move on. The university has reached out and now its up to him to respond. I’m not holding my breath.

  • Plane1972

    One of the real negative repercussions of Knight’s departure has been the outright sale of Assembly Hall. It used to be nearly pristine in its lack of visible commercial interest. I know that is a reality of modern sports, but Coach Knight was always great at keeping everything inside the Hall about the game. Sure his shenanigans went beyond the pale and he became a contradiction to that idyll. But most of us can agree it was out of complete, yet sometimes misguided, passion for the game and the pursuit of perfection. I will always remember and admire him for that.

  • michaelhermon94

    I disagree with you as well Alex. Bringing coach Knight back into the IU family would be immensely beneficial to unifying the fan base, and restoring some of the lost luster of the program, and they need to continue to try until it happens
    Indiana lost thousands of fans nationwide when they fired coach Knight many of whom still will have nothing to do with the university or its basketball program. Look at something as simple as two twitter accounts, Calipari has what a million+ followers, and coach Crean has less than 20,000? You think there were that many more Kentucky fans than IU fans in the seventies, eighties and nineties? Please, if anything we had more. So where did they go? Bring coach Knight back into a prominent place within the university, and with coach Crean getting us back to winning this year, you will find out.
    I personally was wishing coach Knight would retire towards the end, not because of his behavior or because I felt he stopped trying to win, but because the game had simply evolved beyond his ability/willingness to evolve with it. Refusal to ever play zone despite several instances where his players were totally mismatched talent and size wise especially in the post, and an outdated offense that limited creativity and a player’s ability to showase their talent, ensured Indiana was never again going to challenge for a national title with coach Knight at the helm. Going to college a couple of years showcasing your talent and then heading to the NBA is what the best players wanted and the coaches who were willing to work with those new ruls are the ones that started to win then and who are winning now (see Kentucky, Kansas, Syracuse, North Carolina). We now have a coach who is willing to work withing those rules and will get us back to prominence because if it. I think if Zeller or Creek were to tell coach Crean they wanted to leave early he would support them wholeheartedly and be thankful for the 2-3 years they did play with us. Coach Knight just wasn’t capable of doing that.
    So, the marraige ended badly, but it would be a shame if Indiana ever stopped trying to bring coach back, he made IU what it is, according to ESPN and most college basketball enthusiasts a top 5 all-time program. It would be crazy to seperate ourselves from that history. Fred Glass has it right and I applaud him for his continued efforts.

  • Anonymous

    I think he will return someday for some sort of function be it basketball, speaking, cookout… not sure. Given time I think he will return. 10 Years may not be the time he needs?

    Do Coach Crean and Coach Knight ever speak? I have no clue. But I think Coach Crean running a squeaky clean program the right way will benefit any chance of having Coach Knight at an IU basketball event.

  • GFDave

    Link to a Crean Tweet which, in turn, links to a Seltzer video interview:

  • Anonymous

    I will never forget the day … We were traveling through northern Wyoming and stopped for the night in Sheridan. We hadn’t had TV or communication for nearly a week in Yellowstone. My wife has a thing about not living out of a bag (“It’s more relaxing,” or some crap), so while she was unpacking, I turned out ESPN to catch up on civilization.

    When the line ran across about RMK being fired, I immediately called home to talk (read: be consoled by) my mom. The phone was busy for hours … I needed answers now and ESPN was not apparently convinced they should interrupt billiards to bring me the important news of the day. So I went to the motel lobby to ask to use a computer, and the guy looked at me like I was Jessica Simpson playing Jeopardy. They apparently had (and, possibly, have) no use for the Internet in Wyoming.

    I eventually got the news and talked to my mom (Dad had the phone tied up with their dial-up connection, trying to pull down the latest on the riots he was expecting in B-Town). While it never diminished my love for IU, it certainly did make me spit on everything Miles Brand had to say ever after. (Seriously, he could have introduced the polio vaccine at the same news conference and I would have rejected him a second time as a quack.)

    The General had to put up with a lot of crap during him time in Bloomington, and I don’t begrudge his unwillingness to return. I don’t think Tom Crean has a fighting chance to bring him in because, for all that he is, he is not an IU/Knight guy, in the sense that he doesn’t have the long connection with the man or the school. It will take some special appeal from an old, respected player (maybe even one that is willing to repair a broken bond with RMK to get it done, in much the way Alford repaired that fence years ago) to bring our General back.

    And as for IU, my 17-14 prediction stands for this year – a good number, I think, to make those next recruits feel good about signing on. The winters of our discontent are coming to an end.

  • Anonymous

    On Valentine … a few weeks after this, he was a ref at a Georgetown-Notre Dame game. About 3,000 of us were in the stands in the last throes of the John MacLeod era. During the first TV timeout, I yelled, “I hate you, Ted Valentine!” and received the loudest cheer of the night.

  • HoosierintheGhan

    Lets think about this. Knight never gets fired and Haston stays his senior year. Line-up is:
    Haston, Jefferies, Newton, Leach, Odle = All over 6’10”
    Coverdale, Fife at Gaurd.
    Hornsby on the wing and Moyer doing what he does.
    All this under the Bob Knight system. He wins his 4th in 2001-2002, and a possible repeat in 02-03 if Jefferies stays and Mike Davis isn’t there to lose the KU game with a tantrum.
    Indiana and Bobby back on top through the 2000’s. Instead, I get 5 yrs of not looking at the TV screen and shaking my head in shame.

  • Outoftheloop

    Those of us who were long time IU fans had become disgruntled with Coach Knight’s lackadaisical approach to coaching, recruiting, and managing his basketball team for the six years or so prior to his firing. He just did not seem to care anymore. He was sloppy and distant from the actual work. He clearly was setting up his son, Pat, as the next IU coach upon his retirement. No one felt comfortable with his self-appointed move to Athletic Director of Basketball. In addition, he made ZERO effort to reign in his outbursts of violence towards other people like staff, students, passers by, etc. When viewed from any point of view his behavior would not have been tolerated in any other head of a department at Indiana University. They would have been fired long before. He felt that he could no longer be disciplined by ANYONE at IU. It was not like these issues had not been repeatedly addressed by the administration for the last 2-3 years before the firing. They had. But Coach Knight simply gave the President of the University the “finger” and told the administration that there was nothing that they could do and to stay out of his program. Sure enough, he acted like a bully and jerk one more time and was fired. When he was gone, we experienced what we already knew-he was a DAMN FINE basketball coach and leader! The firing was necessary, if not that exact day then a week, a month later. But IU does need to honor and recognize his truly great accomplishments. Here’s hoping that he will let us honor him some day!

  • Outoftheloop

    During the Knight Era, it was NEVER FUN to LOSE!

  • hoosierintheGhan

    Lets consider this. Bobby never gets fired, Haston stays 4 years.
    2001-2002 Lineup 5 players over 6’10” (Haston, Leach, Jefferies, Newton, Odle)
    Coverdale, Fife at gaurd. Hornsby and Moyer running the baseline.
    All under the Bob Knight system, not the Davis NBAesque system.
    Bobby wins his 4th and probably 5th when Jefferies stays another year and Davis never does his temper tantrum at KU.
    Indiana is back on top for the decade, getting the in state recruits. Things are good in Btown and Bobby retires last year to a big hoorah. Alas.

  • BFowler

    He said he was getting a chair out for the nice lady in the front row, not that he was upset with the referees nor his team. Among my first memories of Coach Knight is the flying chair. It was a warm night for that time of year, and though a lad, I understood that this is not the sort of thing mature adults did. Adults around me spoke of his passion and his ability to get the best out of his players, but all I could think about was, “What if he was mad at me?” I heard legend of his discipline, how he turned boys into men. I heard how he was a closer on the recruiting trail and thought, “Well, he is a good salesman.”

    Then, Smart hit “The Shot.” I saw the consistent winning and thought, “Well, maybe this works.” I remember always believing that his teams had a chance, that his coaching prowess combined with a strict system and young men committed to it would always combine for a formidable team. I remember the 1984 North Carolina defeat, the 1987 National Title, and my favorite group of all time, the 1992-93 teams. I saw the Delray Brooks saga, I saw Sherron Wilkerson get head butted with no apology, Pat Knight get his “chair” kicked, I saw Luke Recker and Jason Collier transfer with fear, I saw the Neil Reed video, and I thought to myself, “He acts like does not want to be there anymore.”

    I remember September 10th, 2000 and the events that led up to it very well. I remember thinking, “Well, Myles Brand has certainly made a name for himself.” I thought it was kind of like a mob hit in the way that if you knock off the Godfather, you become the Godfather. I was more numb than upset, more bewildered than disappointed. I thought, “What’s next?”, “Who is Mike Davis?”

    The Knight regime, in my view, will be known for winning. Some will say he won the right way in that he apparently never broke the rules; he reprensented midwest values of toughness, discipline, and hard work leading to results. Others will point to his intimidation, his lack of adapting to the new era, and his narcissism. I think the further we get from it, the more the past seems utopian, especially when combined with the last decade of futility (less the 2002 team).

    I wish him the very best, and do not begrudge the path he took to get where he is. We have to face reality, the Knight era is over, just like the Lou Watson era before it. Gone are the flying chairs, broken telephones, and “game faces.” We will likely never again see the “training whip,” a dissertation on the world’s greatest and most versatile word, or an Ivan Renko sighting. What that means exactly I don’t really know, but my favorite institution and team still plays today, and I still do not cheer for the man on the sidelines as much as I do the players on the court.

  • Anonymous

    Something I have not seen anyone mention yet about BK’s time at IU towards the end is the way things ended with Ron Felling. Here was a guy who was at his side through thick and thin bad and good and always had his back and probably had numerous chances to leave BK and IU and take a nice head coaching job somewhere else but chose to stay with, I’m sure with what he considered up until the end, was a very good friend and confidante. This upset me about as much as anything and I felt like he had more of a reason to sue than BK did. This also showed that towards the end BK could not handle anyone that disagreed with him about anything.

    BK’s accomplishments and at times generosity would take more time and space to list than anyone on here has and that’s not even counting the things that we don’t know about which I’m sure were many but the way it ended was almost inevitable when we took off our cream and crimson colored glasses.

    “Give me four years of your life and I will give you the rest of my life ” – Bob Knight.

    I think Felling gave him just a little bit more than 4 years and he paid him back by punching him when he overheard him disagreeing with him while having a private conversation.

  • IU_Fan_99

    do you think the Big Ten Network will ever replay that game? I would love to see that again… this was the game when one of our guys was hurt and he got the third technical called oh him because he went out onto the court to check up on him right? was that against Illinois?

  • Anonymous

    I enjoyed watching him coach, but my allegiance does not follow a person around the country. In the end, I will always be a fan of Indiana University, with or without Bob Knight. I hated to see the fashion in which he was cast away from the program. I am glad the people who did this to him are long gone, but I am disappointed that he cannot recognize his supporters are still here, and we are waiting to welcome him back. He is who he is, and I am not sure if he can muster the humility necessary to return and mend the relationship.

  • Anonymous

    IMHO, and that is all that it is, I think it would not have happened. When Davis took over you had players that were as fundamentally sound as could be (thank you BK) and then were given the chance to play without the worry that they would be jerked out of the game with the first thing they done wrong and embarrassed on national TV. Again, IMHO, it showed that he was still the best at some of the most important things in bball but also that he would not compliment that with the other things needed to succeed in today’s type of game.

    Dane Fife would never had become the scorer / player that he did under BK in my opinion and is a good example of what can happen if a player can feel like he can make a mistake without there possibly being dire consequences.

  • Gregmquinn

    I think the entire fall of the Knight era hinged on Eric Montross. The ’93 team was one of Knight’s finest. We were ranked #1 most of the season and went 17-1 in the Big Ten (I’m sure you all remember.) Unfortunately, Alan Henderson blew out his knee and we didn’t have enough depth inside to deal with Kansas’ big men in the Elite 8.

    The recruiting battle for Montross (a highly rated center from Indy,) was fierce. According to a few friends on the coaching staff, Knight spent an extraordinary amount of personal time recruiting him. As we all know, Montross went to UNC and won a title.

    If we had Montross, I believe we would have won the title in ’93. That win would have given Knight more recruiting leverage in the following years and we probably would have avoided that dreaded 7 year run without getting out of the first weekend of the tourney.

    1 Final Four run in the late 90s, and Knight would have had the latitude to survive the scandal that got him fired.

    It’s all about Eric Montross (and maybe Lawrence Funderburke.)


    I think Bobby Knight was a great coach in his time! Knight was an old school coach, during a period when it was OK to be old school. As time changed coach Knight did not change with the times. Take a look at it from this angle… with the ways lawsuits are handed out like candy any more, Coach Knight was a ticking time bomb. If he was still coach today and he so much as touched a player…. IU and coach would most certainly be in for a lawsuit. IU had to protect thereself which they tried to do with the no tolerence policy. Society has changed. This is a part of a huge debate… don’t spank your kids, timeouts when they get in trouble, etc. During most of Coach’s tenure a good old *** beating was what you expected when you got in trouble. Now you better not touch your kids unless series jail time is your desire. I believe his intentions were for the best most of the time. You will never find someone who cared more for his players and university. Good coach, definatly. Able to adapt with times. NOT!

  • MillaRed

    RMK came from a military program and brought that mentality with him to Indiana. It worked in the decades that lacked internet, cellular phones and other media available today.

    Fact is the collegiate world evolved and RMK did not. The athletes looking for schools 10 years ago, and FOR CERTAIN the athletes of today just are not going to tolerate a dictatorship.

    Today’s teenagers, basketball players or not, seem to have this false sense of entitlement. This certainly starts at home. Parents are just plain lazy and unprepared. This attitude just did not jive with Knight’s hard-ass approach to the game and the IU institution. It was best we cut bait when we did.

    I have a lot of respect for Coach and his accomplishments. And a lack of respect for many of his antics. Still yet, he will always be in my heart as an IU fan and I will always support him as best I can.

    Go IU!

  • Anonymous

    I always attributed Montross going to UNC as his desire to get beyond the fact that, for four years through high school he probably thought his first name was “DamonBaileyandEric” because you never heard mention of him without it being attached to Damon. If I thought I’d been 2nd fiddle to a guy 80 miles away for four years, I don’t think I’d have wanted to spend the next four with him.

  • Diesel

    IUMIKE – what kind of scorer/player did Dane become under Davis? Just asking….

  • Anonymous

    When he first came to IU I thought he fit the BK type player mold well, tough, defensive minded, I’ll run through a brick wall if you ask me to type guy. I have not done the research to compare his scoring average during his BK years to his MD years (mistake I know) but I would be willing to bet it went up more than a point or two. He seemed to have come into the offensive part of his game more so than he would have under BK without sacrificing any of his defensive game, in my opinion. If BK had still been there he would have still have been a good player but I think him taking a three pointer when open would not have come without thinking about it first, which does not exactly help your FG % and he would have felt the pressure to concentrate mostly on defense.

    After I posted the comment you replied to it dawned on me that making a statement like that and not doing any kind of research first might very well lead to someone checking it out and reminding me that in the future that might be a good thing to do first. You might get past some of the fans on ITH some of the time but rarely, if ever, will you get past all of the fans on ITH all of the time.

  • Diesel

    Thanks for your take. He was one of my favorite players and I just wanted to see what you thought. I agree.

  • oldred1976

    There’s a lot to remember. Our first Final Four with Coach Knight was IU,UCLA with Bill Walton as a senior, Providence and Memphis State. We played UCLA first and with two seniors John Ritter and Steve Downing and a handful of underclassmen we put the fear of God in Wooden and Walton. Downing outscored and out rebounded the wonder boy but when it was crunch time and Wooden was getting nervous the officials made sure that walton always got the benefit of any kind of contact between the two. UCLA went on to win. Back then they still played the concilation game and we destroyed Providence. That year the underclassmen included Quinn Buckner and well you know the rest. For you younger fans there’s a great book( Bob Knight : His Own Man ) by Joan Mellen you’ll love if you can find it. There’s much more perhaps some other time

  • Anonymous

    I cherish the memory, but hope to never see that game again. The sight of Luke Recker in an IU uniform will make me want to hurl.

  • Anonymous

    It is not fun to lose now during the Crean Era. I think people need to move on from the Knight Days and embrace what is happening at IU now. Because one day very soon, it is going to be amazing.

  • Anonymous

    One of my all time favorite memories of IU bball was when Fife got tangled up with somebody, who it was and what team it was slips my mind right now but when they showed the slo mo replay of it you could see that Fife did a pit bull jaw lock down on the guy it had to have left a bruise in the exact shape of Fite’s tooth pattern. I just about fell out of my chair from laughing so hard. That guy probably owes him one in that he has a story that he can tell that will be hard for some to believe but is the god honest truth. LOL

  • Anonymous

    “Garp bit Bonky!”