By now, just about everyone has heard about the remarks Bobby Knight made about John Calipari at an IU Hall of Fame fundraiser this weekend. College basketball (in general) and John Calipari (specifically) lack integrity, says Knight, and that’s why he’s glad he’s no longer a part of the game. This particular caveat is hilarious, because just about everyone else is glad Bobby Knight isn’t a part of college basketball too, but for several, completely different reasons.
This post will not be long; it does not need to be. Bobby Knight, along with any of the teams he’s coached, hasn’t been relevant in almost twenty years. His last Final Four came at Indiana in 1992, his last National Title in ‘87. The Hoosiers didn’t make it past the first round of the tournament in four of his last six years at the helm (and didn’t make it past the second in any), and his last Big Ten title came at the end of the 1992-93 season. In short, despite the fact that Knight likes to comment, quip, and jab at the current state of college basketball like he is the Be All, End All of the game, he resembles nothing of the sort. He was a great X’s and O’s coach who was fortunate to be born when he was. Had he been born, say, twenty years later, he wouldn’t have gotten away with half the stuff he said, or signed half the players he signed (see: Gillispie, Billy). As a matter of fact, he tried his best to get away with it towards the end of his tenure at IU, and the Indiana brass canned him.
As much as he’d like to think it, college basketball does not miss Bobby Knight. Neither does Indiana. I’m sure he’d like to make the argument that Indiana’s fall from grace was sparked by his departure, but anyone with half a brain who was watching college basketball in the ‘90s knew it was coming. As the statistics I mentioned earlier suggest, Knight and Indiana were already showing signs of slipping.
I could write 4,000 words on Knight’s antics over the years. Be it the chair throwing incident, the Neil Reid choking (and denying it, even though it was caught on tape) incident, the going after a student because he said Hey, Knight incident, or the when rape is inevitable, you should just sit back and enjoy it incident, Bobby Knight has consistently shown himself to be a person of low character. He treats everyone—his players, programs, and fans—with a level of respect far below the one he demands from them. These recent comments are just another drop in the bucket. He is not, by any stretch, a person who has any moral high-ground on anyone. So, please, Bobby Knight, just go away. Shut your mouth, hide your face, and Just Go Away.
Unless, of course, you want to come back and start coaching IU again. We miss busting your ass.