The legendary former IU coach will be on the sideline for an IU game for the first time since his 2000 firing.
Some sharp-eyed folks noticed yesterday that ESPN's broadcast schedule indicates that Bob Knight will be calling Indiana's Legends Classic game against the Georgia Bulldogs next Monday. Knight, of course, was fired by the late IU president Myles Brand in September 2000 and the relationship between Knight and the university has not been repaired despite significant turnover in IU's upper administration, in the athletic department, and in the basketball program. This won't be the first time Knight has been in the building for an IU game since he was fired. Knight was present for IU's win over Pitt in the 2009-10 Jimmy V Classic at Madison Square Garden (and was quite complimentary of IU, despite his usual reticence about discussing IU), but he was part of the "studio" team that handled the halftime, pregame, and postgame shows, not the actual broadcast crew.
This will be very interesting. How will Knight handle it? Will he spend time with the team and the IU coaches, as is typical of commentators before a game? I'm looking forward to it. Knight is one of the best analysts in the business, and I'll be very interested to see what he has to say about the Hoosiers. I'm sure that both Fred Glass and Tom Crean are smart enough to avoid the hard sell with Knight, but hopefully there will be enough positive interaction to perhaps set the stage for a future trip to Assembly Hall by Knight.
I know this topic is wearying for some of you. It is for me, too. IU has made steps toward a reconciliation, and ultimately the ball is in Knight's court. Knight isn't wrong to be bitter toward an institution that fired him. On the other hand, other fired legendary coaches, including Woody Hayes and Nolan Richardson, have eventually mended fences with their universities. A reconciliation between Knight and IU isn't the biggest deal in the world, but I think it would be nice both for Knight and IU fans.