IU is No. 1 again, with or without Knight’s approval

  • 11/16/2012 1:46 pm in

When Tom Crean arrived in Bloomington in April of 2008, his to-do list grew almost immediately after he was announced as the Indiana University basketball men’s basketball coach.

The rubble left in the aftermath of the Kelvin Sampson era, which can be best characterized as a program-crippling debacle, was larger than even Crean could have imagined.

But unlike the previous two coaches who sat in his position after Bob Knight’s dismissal — Mike Davis and Sampson — Crean spoke about Indiana’s storied tradition with words that actually had teeth. His emphasis on bringing back former players and coaches and reuniting a fractured fanbase was a big part of his plan to rebuild Indiana from day one.

As the long road to rebuilding Indiana inched along, it became clear that Crean’s words were not hollow.

Former players who had essentially disassociated themselves with the program under Sampson’s leadership returned and embraced what Crean was doing to put the pieces back together and build the Hoosiers into a national contender. Historic teams, like the 1987 championship team, Knight’s third at IU, reunited at Assembly Hall to celebrate with fans. Calbert Cheaney, the all-time leading scorer in the Big Ten and a Naismith and Wooden Award winner, joined the staff.

These are just a few of the countless examples of embracing tradition that have transpired under Crean’s watch that were unthinkable under previous staffs and administrations.

What also transpired was Crean and Athletics Director Fred Glass making it clear, publicly, that Knight was welcome to return to Bloomington at any time. When Knight was selected for the IU Athletics Hall of Fame in 2009, Glass penned a letter requesting he attend the ceremony. Crean was also clearly on board with the decision to honor Knight.

“I think it will be fantastic to be able to walk into that building and have people walk into that building and know that their coach is honored with all of the other greats at Indiana,” Crean said in Aug. of 2009. “Because certainly it’s one thing to have him in the Naismith Hall of Fame, but with everything he did at Indiana, the shelf’s not full yet. Let’s get the shelf full and get him in there.”

Knight decided against attending the ceremony, instead opting to send a letter to Glass which was read by his longtime friend and retired journalist, Bob Hammel. It was clear from that the wounds for Knight were still deep.

“I just have too much negative feeling toward some people and the things they did or did not do during my last few years and who had no understanding of either athletics or honesty,” he wrote.

As timed moved along, Knight’s stance on Indiana hasn’t appeared to shift much, if at all. As recently as September, when he was inducted into Ohio State’s Hall of Fame for lifetime achievements, a ceremony he attended, Knight was asked if he would accept similar recognition in Bloomington.

“Probably not,” he told a group of assembled reporters.

Less than a month after that appearance at Ohio State, it was announced that Knight would sell his championship rings and Olympic gold medal to help put his grandchildren through college.

So as word arrived on Wednesday afternoon that Knight will help call Monday’s Indiana game against Georgia in the Legends Classic at the Barclays Center on ESPNU, it’s fair to wonder if the news is significant in terms of Knight’s stance with Indiana softening.

For the first time in his career as a college basketball analyst for ESPN, it appears Knight will discuss the program he once oversaw, which is now back at the forefront of the sport.

“I think it’s great coach Knight will be calling the game,” Glass told Inside the Hall’s Justin Albers on Friday. “I wouldn’t read too much into it one way or another in terms of him reconnecting with IU. If that happens, it’ll be on his timetable. He knows he’s welcome, but we won’t push it.”

It’s clear that Indiana is still willing to embrace Knight should he choose to allow the program to do so.

But this much is also clear. Indiana is No. 1 again, with or without Knight.

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  • I share your sentiments but I would Still feel hurt if he doesn’t accept the olive branch during the Georgia game. So I guess I Still care more than I should. I’m just a fan. How do his players feel? Especially class of ’87?

  • I share your sentiments but I would Still feel hurt if he doesn’t accept the olive branch during the Georgia game. So I guess I Still care more than I should. I’m just a fan. How do his players feel? Especially class of ’87?

  • unclekerfuffle

    Until I read your comment I forgot about something I heard coach Knight say once, first person. He said that if he ever stopped winning, they (?) would come out of the woodwork after him–Prophetic

  • aztrip

    i didnt think iu could ever have a better bball coach than coach knight. he got all he could out of every player who wanted to get better. i see the reaction that everyone in assembly hall gives him WHENEVER his picture appears on the big screen and as a fan i think the only thing missing from this picture is having him a part of this tradition going forward. for those of us who believe he is selfish, i would suggest that we ask his former players who he is. there are countless stories of coach helping former players and coaches…supporting them when they needed it most. i agree, he should forgive and forget…the people there now are not the ones…miles brand in particular…who kicked him out the door when he wasnt winning, but i understand (i think) why he is acting the way he is…loyalty. it runs deep within him and his philosophy, there is no middle ground, you are either with him or against him. yes, his pride has been in the way, but i truly believe that over time, he will again be a part of the program…on his time…i am not saying he is right to handle it this way, but it is who he is…we all accepted and defended his actions when he was winning. for me, other than winning the final game of the year with another Watford shot over pUKE and hanging future banners, i cannot think of a better moment than seeing him walk on that floor and acknowledge his fans like he used to acknowledge his seniors…by the way, even though CTC hasnt hung a banner yet, he is on his way to being the most remembered and admired coach in iu history…thanks coach knight for the past and thanks CTC for the present and bright future

  • aztrip

    oh, and btw, did you see muhammad is reinstated…total bs that our boys cant play on monday…

  • ErniePyle

    Fred Glass must be a retired frat star. look at those Sperrys

  • ErniePyle

    Fred Glass must be a retired frat star. look at those Sperrys

  • IUMIKE1

    As usual, very well put my friend. The time between when I finished reading your post and when I hit the like button was, oh, about half a nanosecond.

    Take out the, spent many of those years outside of Indiana, sentence and have the people that know me best read it. Then tell them that someone that they all know really well wrote it and I believe most of them would guess it to be me cause the only other choice they would really have would be my best, never watch an IU bball game with anyone else, friend who passed away not quite 3 years ago.

    Spot on.

  • IUMIKE1

    I know this is off topic but I have got to try and vent somehow.

    Shabazz Muhammed cleared to play immediately. The ncaa (I refuse to capitalize it from here on out) just threw a handful of salt into the BS screw job that HP & PJ got. Unless CTC already has gotten an answer to IU’s appeal and just hasn’t said anything about it, it looks like UCLA can get an answer back a whole lot quicker than we can as well. Must be cause we’re so far away from their office. I’m sorry, but if Dez Wells can be cleared to play immediately, AFTER an appeal, and now SM is cleared to play immediately, AFTER an appeal (& right before two of their biggest games of the season), and nothing is changed about what was handed down to us on HP & PJ then it becomes really hard to believe that someone or some people at the ncaa don’t have an axe to grind with us. Some of the stuff that the ncaa has handed down to us in the past was enough to make even pUKe fans say we were getting hosed and if there is no modification of what they handed us on HP & PJ after them having a change of heart on these two matters, then it’s obvious that we’re getting hosed even worse and I didn’t think that was possible. How much more do I need to see to finally learn that anything is possible when it comes to them, my bad. If I”m the people at IU responsible for the appeal being made on behalf of HP & PJ, and can do an addendum to the appeal, I point out the huge discrepancy in those two cases and ours if it isn’t at the very least modified in some big way. At the very least it should be, released for time already served.

    But then again when one thinks about it it’s not like Wells or SM did anything as bad as being associated with a guy / legal guardian that tried to have the ncaa tell them him exactly what the rules were only to be told that they themselves didn’t really know what they were, and has an ex-wife that, over 20 years ago, wrote checks over a 5 or 6 year span for IU bumper stickers that totaled $185 either, so I guess it’s all fair, especially since we self-reported it all. With something as bad as that being done by these two sneaky worldly young men I guess we’re just lucky they didn’t say, “off with their heads”. DWS

    Thanks to all for the venting space.

  • Drake

    He’ll Be back someday. He secretly loves watching the Hoosiers great comeback. He secretly loves that banners will be added to the three he borught. Welcome back Knight. Its been a long time and we kept the lights on for ya!

  • wesmont

    fair enough,you are being objective and I may have been too harsh.A lot of negative emotions over the years.

  • wesmont

    fair enough,you are being objective and I may have been too harsh.A lot of negative emotions over the years.

  • b_side

    Not only that, but the comments have been really eloquent regardless of which side of the fence you stand on. I enjoyed reading Alex’s piece as well, but had some fear that there would be too many extremists on both sides of the coin giving their two cents. Very reassuring to see that such a controversial topic isn’t bringing out any new trolls. If anything, I’m seeing a lot of new posters in the ITH community.

    Keep it up everybody. And join the premium forum if you like what you see here.

  • b_side

    The difference though is the NCAA got caught were their pants down though in the case of Shabazz. Google LA Times Shabazz Airplane and you’ll find a story about a woman who overheard an NCAA official’s boyfriend talking about the case. Basically saying that the NCAA has it out for him. Whether they’re right or wrong, it made Shabazz seem guilty until proven innocent. In other words, we don’t have any leverage with HMP and PJ.

  • IUMIKE1

    You’re right it did make it sound like they seen him as guilty irregardless of the facts and that they were gonna sit him. This attorney supposedly over hearing this also kinda sounds like the, I overheard my uncle saying that his brother’s cousin nephew said….., thing too, but at the same time it sounds like we may have been on the receiving end of that kind of decision making as well. They probably figured that declaring SM eligible immediately would go a long way in blunting any bad PR. To me all it did was make them look even more like the incompetent fools that they are, which I didn’t think possible. If damage control is what they’re trying to do righting a certain wrong that everyone seen as a, wth, decision would go a long way in doing that. It just seems like every time we have something in place to give us a decent boost (e.g. GMM) they find a way to screw us over. Just when I was starting to be able to get past this they (ncaa) go and do something to fan the fire and magnify what they did to us. I want us to run a clean program and be ready to own up to it if something illegal has been done, but this clearly shows that self-reporting gains us nothing. It seems like they see it as, if you’re dumb enough to self-report it you deserve to have it broke off in you.

  • IUMIKE1

    Check out the article by Dana O’Neil on ESPN about these two cases and the Mafia (ncaa). She makes several good points.

  • IUMIKE1

    Check out the article by Dana O’Neil on ESPN about these two cases and the Mafia (ncaa). She makes several good points.

  • NotTheRealSteveEyl

    Excellent post. Couldn’t agree more. BK obviously likes holding a grudge more than he likes IU or it’s fans.

  • NotTheRealSteveEyl

    preach it, brother.

  • NotTheRealSteveEyl

    Ted Williams was a small minded grudge holder too.

    And also the best in the world at what he did.

  • NotTheRealSteveEyl

    First thing I thought. What the h*ll is he wearing?

  • NotTheRealSteveEyl

    First thing I thought. What the h*ll is he wearing?

  • cooper

    He also raised ungodly amounts of money for the school, donated his own money to the school, graduated players, never got any violations, forced players to go to class and won championships.

    What else did you want?

    Sure he is a dinosaur but in today’s age of everyone gets a trophy and you can’t push a kid to try hard, is that such a bad thing?

  • The_Real_Assembly_Hall

    I am ready for him to be ready to come back. Life is short Coach Knight. If you don’t want to forgive then fine, but don’t take it out on us fans. We do miss you and want you to be a part of the present and future. Not having you connected to the program throughout this period of time just does not seem right. Joe B Hall is treated like royalty down south so I couldn’t imagine how rightfully revered you would be upon your return visits. Miss ya Coach. Throw a red sweater on when you call the game Monday night as a signal to the fans that you haven’t forgotten about us.

  • The_Real_Assembly_Hall

    No kidding. With all due respect to the deceased here but two of the likely people he should have a grudge against (in his eyes) are no longer living……Again all respect to the deceased.

  • The_Real_Assembly_Hall

    I am quite sure any appeal IU makes will include the reference to SM reinstatement after just three games with a similar fine compared to HP. The NCAA is all about fairness and equality right? Shouldn’t be a problem to get them reinstated then…

    Maybe their axe to grind against Indiana is so big that they reinstated SM just in time to play Indiana while our players still sit just out of spite. Wouldn’t that be the icing on the cake?

  • The_Real_Assembly_Hall

    He is setting a new trend…..

  • Arch_Puddington

    I had the same thought. People are speaking passionately about the issue at hand — i.e., Bob Knight — but not about each other. Most debates on anonymous forums quickly degrade into personal insults and hostility…

    And like you, I recommend the premium forum. It has become a part of my daily routine, and I can’t imagine following the team this year without it.

  • HoosierLib

    I grew up with Bobby Knight always being the head coach at Indiana and when I was younger I saw him as somewhat as a god (as most children see their parents or other influential adults). As a child, I was lucky enough to be able to watch and remember the 92′ team that eventually lost to Duke and the 93′ that lost to Kansas. I grew up heard stories of the 76′, 81′ and 87′ National Championship teams from my family members who attended IU during the 76′ and 81′ seasons. I wanted so badly to attend IU and experience the same magic, luckily I did in 2002…almost. Despite all of the success, I also remember the some of the humiliating defeats (i.e. season opener against Butler and the 50 point loss at Minnesota). Luckily, I was a freshman at IU in 99′ and I was able to skip work to attend the IU-Purdue game, which proved to be Bobby’s last home game. I also rioted with the other students when he was fired and I attended Bobby’s farewell address to the fans. While pissed at the time, somewhere in the back of my mind I knew it was the right thing for the university and for Bobby himself (as he admitted is time had passed and he was just going through the motions for the past 5-6 years). Over the years I have realized that like any person, he is a deeply flawed man. Despite his warts and at times @sshole-ish behavior, he did care about the well-being of his players and the university. His parting message in 2000 was to keep the tradition alive at IU and to not blame the institution. Most of the administration that part of his ouster have left, died or moved on to something else. In time, he will return and as Fred Glass said, it needs to be on his terms. We miss you Bobby and you’re always welcome back…

  • Sherronhasaheadache

    on an urelated note,UCLA’s boy muhammed reinstated after only 3 games ? while HMP and PJ sit for 6 more games? I hope we play the bruins tuesday night and kick the crap out of hem

  • IUMIKE1

    Wouldn’t be that hard to believe at this point.

    Wait a minute, wait a minute, you’re talking about the ncaa, er I mean mafia, right ? They would nnnnnnever do annnnnything like that and while I”m at it they would never ever put two teams in a position in the tournament where they will almost be sure to play each other after 2 to 4 games.

  • IUMIKE1

    Wouldn’t be that hard to believe at this point.

    Wait a minute, wait a minute, you’re talking about the ncaa, er I mean mafia, right ? They would nnnnnnever do annnnnything like that and while I”m at it they would never ever put two teams in a position in the tournament where they will almost be sure to play each other after 2 to 4 games.

  • RMK is who he is and his legacy will always be measured by his success at IU. He knows this. CTC is smart to acknowledge this and the IU tradition. He is confident that he can embrace this and also be successful. RMK is getting on in yrs but at least IMHO is a decent broadcaster with some good insights and I look fwd to the game. I think he respects the hard work that CTC has done to lay done the foundation of a successful resurgence of the program…..and I should acknowledge a conflict of interest for I have very little respect for the late Myles Brand, and a great deal of respect for RMK’s philosphy of creating men and not just basketball players since I was there in the mid 70s and saw those players attend every single class….

  • Remy Willing and Abell

    Milla , I’ve been on this site since 2007 , And have read and appreciated a lot of you’re posts , But this might be one of you’re best . You said what I’ve thought for years …good job

  • Remy Willing and Abell

    Milla , I’ve been on this site since 2007 , And have read and appreciated a lot of you’re posts , But this might be one of you’re best . You said what I’ve thought for years …good job

  • Knight better hurry up and ditch the grudge because after a few more years of Crean, Knight may become a distant memory.

  • Benhyoung14

    Yes, and Brad Stevens and a bunch of other coaches that should have been hired to replace Tom Crean. I always said wait until his 4th year to judge, and look at us now.

  • Benhyoung14

    Yes, and Brad Stevens and a bunch of other coaches that should have been hired to replace Tom Crean. I always said wait until his 4th year to judge, and look at us now.

  • MillaRed

    Thx man

  • MillaRed

    It’s funny because if he walked into Assembly Hall all would be forgotten. Seems so simple.

  • Coach Knight never held himself to the same standard of behavior that he demanded of everyone around him. That “do as I say, not as I do” is so LAST century. IU has moved on with the right coach in Tom Crean. I was Knight’s biggest fan, but he projected his faults on to others. Again, Coach Knight is of another era. He could NOT recruit and win in today’s climate. GO HOOSIERS!!!

  • Coach Knight never held himself to the same standard of behavior that he demanded of everyone around him. That “do as I say, not as I do” is so LAST century. IU has moved on with the right coach in Tom Crean. I was Knight’s biggest fan, but he projected his faults on to others. Again, Coach Knight is of another era. He could NOT recruit and win in today’s climate. GO HOOSIERS!!!

  • 5_Banners

    Love Knight. He was an amazing coach. But, It’s been 10 years…stop holding a grudge to people that actually DO respect what you’ve done during your time at Indiana.

    It will be interesting to see how the game goes on Monday. I’m sure he’ll have a lot good things to say about the coach/players at Indiana.

  • indigodoc

    Myles Brand didn’t push Bob Knight out. He did it to himself. His behavior was wrongly tolerated for years because he was winning. Winning isn’t everything. He was told no more but continued to be himself. Bob Knight could not adapt to a changing world. He was great in his time but his time passed him by. Anyone who thinks he was wronged is as delusional as BK himself.

    I hope that he learned from it. It doesn’t appear to be the case though. If he ever does he will be widely forgiven and welcomed back with open arms for his great accomplishments as the coach at IU. It’s really up to him.

  • WatchingYogi_atYogis

    As an IU basketball fan and alumn, I don’t think I would consider myself personally offended by any of Bob Knight’s choices so far or any future choices, within reason. Quite honestly, Bob Knight has never really surprised. He is what I have come to expect based on what I think I know about his personality.
    But I do agree in one sense. I am anticipating Monday more than a game we are favored to win by twenty would otherwise warrant. And I am a little surprised he is doing the game. It should truly be fascinating tv.

  • marcusgresham

    I don’t know about your area of the state, but there were more than a few houses down here that flew Texas Tech flags in the yard.

  • marcusgresham

    Is there any irony in the fact that, when questioned about selling his rings and other memorabilia, Knight said about the only thing he had he would refuse to let go was a ball given to him (and signed by) Williams?

  • marcusgresham

    #1–can Calbert Cheaney perhaps be the one who extends the olive branch (in person, I know it’s been done in other ways.)
    #2–would he almost certainly agree to return to Bloomington if he were guaranteed of a huge bronze statue of himself being erected outside the hall…with a huge bronze statue of a kneeling Myles Brand directly behind it, lips pursed and pressed against the buttocks of the Knight statue?

  • SS8941

    A few weeks ago I had the privilege of seeing Coach Knight speak in Greenwood in a fundraiser for the local library and the last thing he talked about was how much he appreciated the way IU fans supported his teams while he coached at Indiana. He did so fighting back tears. So for you to say that Coach Knight “doesn’t appreciate me” is pretty ignorant if you ask me. By saying that you’re just the like the media people who’ve jumped to conclusions about him for 40 years instead of listening to what he has to say and really looking at who Bob Knight is as a man.

  • WatchingYogi_atYogis

    One of my first real memories as an IU student was sadly during my first year when he was dismissed. He gave all of us students a farewell address in Dunn Meadow across from the library he helped build. As a student, I can say that I had the opportunity to directly appreciate what Knight did for the university. I can also say that my memory of his speech will always remind me that we the students were never under appreciated. Yet I could not call someone ignorant for suggesting that Knight’s stubbornness has caused him to handle the situation after his fire less than with perfect grace. “Not appreciated” goes a little too far and takes things a bit too personal, I agree.

    Everybody handles things differently. For some people it just takes more time to come around. I hope tonight is an indication that IU and Knight are on the road to repair. But I really won’t be upset if its not a hug and cry makeup moment. I’m just glad he’s doing the game.