Hoosier Morning

Knight Fired

Bob Knight consoles his wife 10 years ago. Yes, he is wearing elastic denim pants. Jeremy Hogan | Herald-Times





Bruce Springsteen’s “Dead Man Walkin’.”


  1. I think Knight’s fall from grace began with his son coming to play basketball for the Hoosiers. And once Pat Knight had a permanent seat on the coaching bench, there may have been potential recruits sensing that The General could announce his retirement at any time. Fans, administrators, and high school kids that had always seen IU basketball as being synonymous with Bobby Knight were beginning to feel a bit of apprehension and uneasiness surrounding the ‘ifs’ and ‘whens’ regarding the role of Papa General’s little soldier.

    It’s very common to see entrepreneurs feel a parental obligation to relinquish control of businesses to their children. I think a lot of recruits felt reluctant to come to Indiana in fear that they may suddenly find Knight’s son in charge of the team. This isn’t a criticism of Pat Knight’s abilities as a coach, but merely an observation that Bob Knight’s successes on the recruiting front(especially the national stage) and struggles in the tournament were tied to a time period when duties as a father may have acted as restrictive element and distraction on his coaching/business focus. There is also a tendency for fathers to exaggerate and turn their personalities up a notch when every human exchange is under the scrutiny of an onlooker molded from your own genes.

    Of course there are exceptions, but it seems that children inevitably screw up many successful companies built around a founder/figurehead that couldn’t steer the kids in a different, or independent, direction their own.

    Let’s be honest…Let’s be totally honest. How many of those on this blog that are so highly critical of Knight in those final years were anxious to see Patrick take over the team for the next twenty years? Sorry, I know this will sound unkind, but I wasn’t disappointed to know that generations of Knights would not be coaching at IU until my last cheering breath.

    And when Knight was fired, I don’t think he cared that his reputation was damaged..Knight’s bitterness towards Indiana is because his son was refused the opportunity to take over the business.
    We broke an honor he felt to his son. That’s a tough pill for any dad to swallow.

  2. Such a weighty subject. A very interesting angle from the previous poster.

    As for me, I am already preemptively angry at Bill Lynch for losing to Michigan 2 weeks from now. I can see the writing on the wall. When will this team ever win a league game against a worthy opponent?

  3. I never held any thoughts either negative or positive about Pat becoming the successor to his Dad. To me he was irrelevant just as the other assistants were in that topic because we all knew who was in charge. But I have to believe if every IU fan was asked who should ultimately replace RMK I’ll bet k-boys against bubbles over 60% would have said Steve Alford and Pat would have been less than 5%. On the topic of RMK’s coaching performance diminishing the last 5 years is absolutely related to Brand arriving at IU in 1994.

  4. ^^^ Which makes this poster extremely happy that we won (against Michigan). Great game Coach lynch! Oh, if Crean were only half the coach you are.

    As for The General the first poster is indeed spot on. Which brings to mind the words of another great general (of the US Army): “Old soldiers never die, they just fade away…”

    Of course Steve Alford is Coach Knight’s son-in-basketball and his time with Indiana as a head coach is yet to come.

    Go Hoosiers!

  5. There’s a lot to agree with in the first poster’s theory. Coach is a proud man and has obviously always been proud of Patrick. I agree though that Patrick coaching Indiana was a disaster waiting to happen – too much pressure, too much baggage. I’ve always thought he was a good kid who handled himself well though, and I think it’s great that he seems to have found a measure of success at TT. Hopefully he has the ‘x’s and o’s’ smarts of his dad, and can avoid the personality flaws that kept Coach from retiring gracefully from IU.

  6. I don’t really agree with the first post about Pat Knight. I have searched many angles but I just don’t think that was it. Knight actually was still getting good to great recruits, think about it…he just was not winning. Many Knight fans will not agree but in my opinion the 3 reasons he stopped winning were that he cared less because he was unhappy, his temper was worse as he was unhappy so the kids were over it by the tourney, and he failed to speed up his offense/change with the times.

  7. JPat, you’re right on. We’re not saying that Coach’s firing had to do with the university not wanting Patrick to take over; we’re just saying that Coach was especially bitter because now Patrick wouldn’t have the chance. I have always agreed with your premise – Coach was fired because he wasn’t winning championships anymore. Period. He lasted 12 years without winning one – the same amount of time given McCracken before he left. If the university wanted to fire him over acting like a jerk, he would have been gone in ’72.

  8. kurk, thanks for the response. I have never heard that anywhere else about him being bitter because Pat would not have a chance at coach. I guess it is possible and I can see where that would bother him. I just thought it was more he was upset with the way it all went down and that is why he was bitter. Who knows…

  9. Bob knight grabbed a student by the arm to lecture him on manners and respect. He got fired by the University President because they hated each other and for violating an agreement about conduct based on allegations, never admitted by Knight, of past physical actions. His basketball program was highly respected and “squeaky” clean. Bruce Pearl at Tennessee will remain as the head basketball coach and will still make well over $1 million/year after admitting that he lied to the NCAA and cheated in recruiting! The University of Tennessee has zero institutional credibility (but a good basketball program) while Indiana University has high institutional credibility (but a decimated now rebuilding basketball program). It does hurt to stand on principle and to sacrifice a high profile athletic program. That is why so very few universities will actually stand on principle.

  10. X and o”s and recruiting factored in only: Samspon and Crean over P Knight any day and a toss up for Davis or P Knight.

  11. ‘Those pants are awesome!’ -4guards

    A statement that I think we can all agree on, and if you don’t agree, then you need awesome lessons.

  12. I agree with you but for one exception, the “high institutional credibility” for IU went COMPLETELY away with the Sampson telephone debacle.

    IMHO, Knight’s firing was a power struggle between he and Brand. Brand was ultimately in charge and used his ability to fire Knight to prove it.

  13. WO One, there is a big difference between “stupidity” in hiring Sampson, in not really monitoring Sampson, in not taking the possible likelihood of Sampson continuing to cheat seriously, on the one hand, and in adhering to principle in both the Knight firing and in the Sampson firing, on the other. I will stand by the “high institutional integrity” opinion. But I will agree with an opinion of gross negligence by the then President of the University and the Board of Trustees in the Sampson hiring.

  14. Hard to believe Bobby would have retired a moment before he broke the coaching wins record, regardless of Patrick.

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