Bob Knight to Prowl the Sidelines at Alabama?

Jon CavanaughContributor IFebruary 10, 2009

We have had time to digest the recent rumors that Bob Knight could return to coaching and he has been linked to the Georgia Bulldogs, but could it be another team that Knight has his eye on?


Could it be that the General is stalking another school? Is it possible that we may see him prowling the sidelines in a red sweater somewhere else?


How about the Alabama Crimson Tide?


Sports columnist Paul Finebaum has published an article on stating that not only are there rumors about Knight coaching at Alabama, but that Knight himself has taken an active interest in the job.


Is there any truth to these rumors? Well, quite frankly, no. The article states that Knight has a lot of friends in high places in Alabama, and it is apparently well known that Bobby likes to hunt in Alabama, but there is no concrete evidence.


The article quotes a source described as a “friend” and someone that “talked directly” to Bob. Jeez, haven’t we all heard that one before?


Rumors are just rumors, but they are plenty of fun and sports fans like to speculate, so why not have some fun with it?


Mr. Knight has said himself, “I have never said that I wouldn't coach again. I've simply said in the past, if the right situation came along, I would be interested."


Knight’s statement has swirled around the sports news and talk scene for the past week. If the Alabama job isn’t the right situation, then I wonder if there will ever be a more suitable situation for him.


Bob would be able to coach in the prestigious SEC Conference for a school that has a decent basketball tradition, access to fertile recruiting ground and he would get to wear the famed red sweater again. 


More importantly, he would get the chance to coach alongside another coaching legend and chase the almighty 1,000th win. These reasons could prove irresistible to Mr. Knight. 


Knight is 68 years old, but with other coaching legends Joe Paterno and another famous Bobby—Bobby Bowden—marching on well into their 70s, there is no reason not to believe that Knight couldn’t reach this incredible milestone.


Wait up. Hold on just one second. Nick Saban is king of Alabama sports right now.  How could these two strong-minded and no-nonsense coaches coexist together? 


I think Knight would relish the opportunity. He would face less pressure because everyone knows that basketball will never overtake football in priority at the school. Both men could even gain a recruiting advantage from it and enjoy each other as coaching peers.


Alabama would get one of the greatest coaches in history, the winningest coach, and one who will run a spotless and trouble-free program with no worries of NCAA infractions.


This is a match made in heaven, right?


Think again. 


The problem is Knight, the man with 902 wins, is a liability. Any athletic director that dreams of hiring him will have to take this into consideration. Along with his wins and great graduation rates comes his temper and penchant for misbehaving. 


Google Bobby Knight’s name and you will find his incredible coaching record and the 902 wins, but right along with that information are the numerous and prominently displayed links to his many outbursts. 


His tantrums and public misgivings are admittedly funny and provide great entertainment value, but I doubt it is something that many schools want to subject themselves to.  


Any athletic director that thinks the General will be easy to get along with can watch this hunting-related video, featuring Bobby arguing with his neighbor after he had asked him to move away from his property. 


These incidents and foul-mouthed tirades will also hurt him in recruiting. Some recruits will relish the chance to play for a coaching legend, but will the blue-chip athletes want to play for Knight?  Some recruits may realize that getting chewed out by Knight will be about as fun and as dangerous as getting mauled by a giant grizzly bear.


Bobby’s public transgressions have given us lots of laughs and highlight-reel material, but we cannot forget that he has actually laid his hands on his players on more than one occasion. The well-documented choking incident of Neil Reid in 1997 proves how volatile and violent Bobby Knight can be.  


I grew up in Indiana and was a student at Indiana University when the famous choking incident occurred. I lived in a small Indiana town near Bloomington called Ellettsville, when Bobby was accused of punching a local man at a Mexican restaurant.


I was still a student at IU and witnessed the chaos that ensued when he was fired.


I am not a Knight hater. I loved some the things he accomplished and what he stood for, but I know all to well the giant shadow that he casts over a program. 


Will Bob Knight ever coach again?  Who knows? It’s all just speculation at the moment.  Currently, Knight is an ESPN analyst and he is great at doing that as well. He seems to be comfortable and having fun but will the lure of 1,000 wins draw him back to coaching at Alabama or some other school?


Only time will tell. As I watch and listen to the rumors that will continue to swirl around his coaching status, I am reminded of a statement he once made during an infamous interview,


“Just relax and enjoy it.”