Knight elected to IU Hall of Fame

August 21, 2009
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knightIndiana University athletic director Fred Glass, less than eight months into the job, has made his most courageous decision. And no, it has nothing to do with drawing students to football games with free snacks.

Glass this week decided to induct former basketball coach Bob Knight into IU’s athletics Hall of Fame. And he is doing so without Knight’s consent and without polling the Hoosier nation.

For the first time since IU launched its Hall of Fame in 1982, a person will be inducted without their agreement to attend the induction. Not that Glass isn’t aiming for that. This week he sent out a hand-written letter of invitation to Knight for the Nov. 6 induction, and is dispatching an oral invite via a hand-picked Knight ally. That same ally is also on the nine-person committee charged with selecting Hall of Fame candidates.

The committee agreed to induct the likes of former soccer coach Jerry Yeagley and basketball player Steve Downing this year.

But make no mistake, Glass pulled the trigger on the decision to induct Knight. He got a nod from IU President Michael McRobbie to do so, but the final decision rested with Glass.

Glass told IBJ Friday that McRobbie neither endorsed nor opposed the move. In other words, this is all his, stand or fall.

Glass said he hopes Knight’s induction will help heal the Hoosier Nation, and he hopes Knight will eventually accept his invitation to be more involved in the IU program. But Glass is also smart enough to know Knight, who was fired by then IU President Myles Brand in 2000, is a lightning rod for controversy.

“I don’t kid myself that this will be universally embraced,” Glass told IBJ Friday. “But I have no problem being a part of this decision because it’s the right thing to do, and by not having Coach Knight in the Hall of Fame, it diminishes it.”

If Knight spurns Glass’ olive branch, it could be the athletic director’s credibility that diminishes. There are still plenty of wealthy IU alums who double as Knight loyalists. Glass, who is nursing a financially fragile athletic department while shepherding several capital projects, can scantly afford to appear further distanced from Knight or his legions of supporters.

Then again, if Knight rides back into Bloomington in 10 weeks time, Glass could be the hero this athletic department so badly needs. It sure takes courage to be the IU athletic director. And the steely nerves of a high stakes gambler.

For more on Glass' decision to induct Knight into the Hall of Fame, click here.

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  • Finally, someone who is willing to do the right thing simply because it's the right thing to do. If Coach Knight actually comes to the ceremony it will be a glorious day for a lot of long-time Hoosier fans.
  • Glad Bob Knight is getting recognized as the geat coach he is. As far as duspline he should displine all the kids around the country and we would have nicer children, If he toossed a chair at me because I said something I would have thrown it right back instead of all the hoop la. If I didn't want to play for a man who saw everyone graduated in his team I would go elsewhere. He is a great coach and a great man!!!!!
  • Long live the general. Knight is INDIANA....not just the university.
  • Wow, hoosier nation is at it early.

    Great idea, bad way of doing it. Knight is a jerk of a coach. A great coach, but a jerk. He could have coached successful teams without doing the majority of the publicity stunts he did. He got too big for his britches and the University refused to reign him in until it was too late. Had the university reigned him in the 70's and 80's, people would be talking about Knight retiring from iu, with another title or two, and naming the new iu arena (money would not be an issue) after him.

    Ok, that said, Glass is smart to honor him, but should have checked with him first. If Bob said no, then drop it for a while. Glass has opened himself and the University to Knights whims. If Bob wants to be a jerk, he can now embarrass himself (like he cares) and the University (which he enjoys) for another couple of months. It will be interesting to see how it plays out.
  • If Knight does accept the invitation, it would be pretty scarry what this guy might say. And the national media will be tuned in for sure. Could be a big mess. Yes, I would say IU is once again captive by Knight's whims. Maybe best to let this sleeping dog lie at least until Glass had a little more clout. That clout comes in the form of buidling winners, not making goofy TV commercials.
  • About time Bobby Knight was recognized for his contribution to:
    Indiana University, IU Basketball, Indiana Basketball, IU's & Indiana's contribution to stirring up US enthusiasm as well as an Olympic Gold Medal. Miles Brand is long gone from IU and any public newsworthy event and Bobby Knight lives on not only in the memories of IU Alumni and the entire state of Indiana and is still newsworthy. I hope Bobby Knight recognizes that it is time to let bygones be bygones and come to receive a well-earned recognition.
  • As an IU Alum, I still have not forgiven the dimwits in charge for allowing all of the Knight stunts for so long and then setting him up to fail. They should have fired all of the trustees instead. Indyman is right about the lax treatment.

    That having been said, it was a sad day in Hoosier Land for those of us long time fans to see the General fired over minutia and what has happened to the program since then. Sometimes you get what you asked for and what you deserve.

    I do not see the Hoosier EVER getting back to the glory days they once enjoyed. The Big Ten (?) and Bloomington are no longer the place to be. Weep on Hoosier 'fans'. The ride created by the General is gone and never to return.
  • If Bob deserves this honor, why hold it back from him just because he's enough of a jackass to snub the university?

    I think Indiana should cite his achievements. If he doesn't show up, the plaque can say, Picture Not Available.
  • I will bet the house that the answer will be yes if Mickey Maurer asks Bobby Knight to attend the ceremony. Mickey and Bobby are friends and it appears they highly respect each other. I would not be surprised if Micky Maurer is already involved and that Bobby Knight knew ahead of time the invitation was coming. I am very happy to see Glass and IU step up and induct Knight. I agree that the Hall of Fame is diminished without Knight.
  • I am not sure about Mickey's involvement. The truth is, I haven't asked him. But I have good sources that tell me Knight's long-time pal Bob Hammel, former Bloomington Herald-Times sports editor, is IU's conduit to Knight. Hammel is on the 9-person Hall of Fame selection committee.
  • Hey Knight fans!

    If Bob snubs the university, after all these years, does that -- maybe -- suggest that he's not a 'molder of men'?

    Maybe he acted that way because he's a jerk?
  • I hope someone at IU reached out to Knight before the public announcement as this unnecessarily puts Knight on the hot seat.

    Also, Yeagley's accomplishments at IU are significant enough to warrant entering the Hall by himself without other inductees and this distraction. IU missed the ball here. Knight may stay away to allow Yeagley the spotlight and avoid the circus atmoshpere.

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