You probably heard Sunday that the Indiana University Athletic Hall of Fame has plans to induct one Robert Montgomery Knight into its annals on November 6 later this year. You remember him, right? The foul-mouthed, bombastic, red-sweatered former coach of Indiana and Texas Tech who has over 900 wins and currently spends his time on ESPN feigning tolerance of the charlatans Vitale, Phelps and Packer. For the love of Kent Benson, why on earth would Indiana willingly subject themselves to this man’s narcissism? Don’t they know this can only serve to embarrass the university? From the NY Times:
The question now becomes, will he show? Knight has a long and successful history with the Hoosiers, but his tenure was marked by controversy and he was fired in 2000, with the administration citing a “pattern of unacceptable behavior.”
Exactly. A pattern of unacceptable behavior which has in no way improved by the passage of time. There are two options here, and neither looks good for Indiana. The first option (and probably the preferred one if IU really thinks about it) is that Knight continues ignoring his association with Indiana basketball, and he doesn’t show up. Sure, IU will have to deal with the embarrassment of Knight’s absence at his own HOF induction, but trust us, that’s far better than the alternative.
Which is… that Knight actually shows up in Bloomington on November 6. Why is this a bad thing for IU? Because if Knight does anything masterfully besides coaching a motion offense t0 19-year olds, it’s knowing how to utilize the media to upstage people he doesn’t respect. Can’t you envision The General riding into town on a white horse and spending the entire day taking veiled not-so-veiled shots at Indiana brass, only to be replayed a hundred times on ESPN (his current employer) and YouTube throughout the 09-10 season? Knight knows how to play to a crowd of supporters, and the good people of Bloomington would undoubtedly oblige his tirade in much the same way they always have.
If Indiana really believes that Knight will gladly accept their olive branch and all else is water under the bridge, then we can only surmise that those in charge of this decision weren’t around for the debacle of Knight’s final days in Bloomington. That, or their memories are very short. Nothing good will come of this, IU.