[Author's Note: I am happy to welcome Joe O to the writing crew here at MSF. Joe is a native of Greenwood, Indiana and a devoted Hoosier fan and grad just like me. Not surprisingly, his first effort here at MSF deals with man that all of us from southern Indiana grew up worshipping admiring: Bob Knight.
Enjoy, and welcome aboard Joe!]
Bob Knight. The General.
Three national championships. Eleven Big Ten Championships. Olympic Gold Medal.
Four-time National Coach-of-the-Year. Six time Big Ten Coach-of-the-Year. All-time winningest coach in college basketball history.
Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame Inductee.
This is an unbelievable compilation of accomplishments, but one is still missing: an induction into Indiana’s Athletics Hall of Fame. This seems like a no-brainer for the Indiana coach of 29 years, but if you’ve been alive the last couple decades you know about the “departure” of Bob Knight from Indiana and why it’s taken so long for this day to come.
On Nov. 6 of this year, Bob Knight’s name will finally be added to the list.
Now that coach Knight will finally be inducted, the next question is whether or not he will attend. This question has loomed around the sports world for a few weeks now and one thing is for certain: no one but maybe Knight himself knows the answer to that question.
I can only imagine all the thoughts and questions that must be going through his head.
On one side, the administration that fired him is basically gone, but on the other hand it was a ridiculous timeline of events and sets of egos that got him canned.
It’s been almost a full decade and I wouldn’t blame him for still feeling uneasy and not wanting to make the trip.
It must be like that girlfriend that got away; the one that dumped you after a couple years. There were many great moments shared and memories had, but you’ve been trying to close that chapter.
Now you have that wedding or event you know she’s going to be at and you’re struggling with whether or not to go.
This is how I envision coach Knight feeling, with so many great times and memories, but with that sour note at the end. Put yourself in his shoes for a moment and envision that car ride into campus and seeing the first couple glances of Assembly Hall.
If he’s as hesitant as he seems, this would be a tough ride to make.
However, coach Knight may also be taking the opposite approach. If there is one thing we’ve learned from him, it’s to expect the unexpected.
This is an enormous honor at any university and especially one with the athletic—most notably basketball—history of Indiana.
Even though one of the many things that made him a great coach is he always put the students first and made coaching all about his students and not his individual accomplishments, there must still be some hidden pride in being included in the HOF. He might even see this as “getting the last word in” with those that fired him.
Maybe he sees this as an opportunity to close one more door before leaving the game entirely.
Whatever coach Knight chooses, show or don’t show, I certainly hope that he does. It’s long overdue and as a lifelong Indiana fan, I’d like to be there to honor him as he so rightfully deserves to be honored at the place where he built his legacy.
As with anything Bob Knight though, he’s his own man and he’ll do what he wants to do. Let’s all just hope we see an unbuttoned dress shirt and sweater come Nov. 6.