Knight moves make waves

February 5, 2008
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Bob Knight leaves a tsunami-like wake wherever he goes. Even in retirement, the waves from his larger-than-life persona are being felt from Lubbock to Bloomington and beyond. The business impact of Knight’s retirement looms large locally. There are numerous central Indiana sporting goods stores that will be selling far fewer Texas Tech University shirts, shorts, jackets and hats. Local television stations airing TTU games will no doubt see viewership decline now that the General no longer gives the marching orders.

Knight’s impact on this state is nothing new--it stretches back to 1971. The effect Knight’s acrimonious departure from Bloomington in 2000 had on Indiana University is well-chronicled, but Kansas City Star sports columnist Jason Whitlock claims the impact goes much farther. He even credits Knight for recent Indiana high school basketball attendance declines and the Indiana Pacers’ woes.

Whitlock, who played alongside Jeff George on Warren Central High School’s football team and later at Ball State University, wrote in his column today:
Basketball has never been the same in my home state since Indiana fired Knight following the 2000 season. The Indiana-Purdue rivalry lost its prestige. High school coaches quit coaching the Knight way, and now prep football is more important in Indiana than basketball. The pro franchise, the Indiana Pacers, has one of the worst reputations in the NBA and has been abandoned by its fan base.

Knight moved to Texas and the entire state of Indiana--at the high school, college and professional level--fell in love with football.

We'll never see another Bobby Knight.

So what do you think? Do Knight’s moves still shake Indiana?
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  • I was actually at the taping of Kelvin Sampson's radio show yesterday when the news about The General came through. Don Fischer asked Kelvin what he thought about Bobby and he described Knight as a giant. He explained how Bob Knight probably had probably either directly or indirectly affected all of the young coaches around today. I would have to agree, and say that it that regard Bob Knight still has some affect on Indiana Basketball. Certainly IU coaches will be compared with him forever, and even a few more championships will not completely erase him from the fans minds. I think Bobby was so loved in Indiana because he fit in well. I am a young man but when reading about IHSAA history it is clear that Indiana lived by the values of hard-work, team basketball, and discipline long before Bobby Knight ever came into our state. I think it is ridiculous to say that Indiana High School basketball, or the Pacers, are on a decline due to Bob Knight. I think that HS basketball is as good as ever, and we still produce some of the best players in the country. Notre Dame, Purdue, and Butler are all in the top 25 due to Indiana kids. IU has one in Eric Gordon that is making a tremendous impact. In my opinion, the class system should be considered before Bobby Knight if you truly believe our HS basketball to be on the decline. Bob Knight fit in well as a Hoosier, and he showed that doing things the right way can still win games. We may not approve of all his methods, as John Wooden said, but you cannot deny that he helped young men grow and succeed in the classroom while being one of the greatest teachers of the game. I agree with Dick Vitale and would like to see Robert Montgomery Knight Court considered as we continue in our arms race with Purdue.
  • I love how a guy in Kansas City who left this state 20 years ago can judge what we're all about in Indiana.
  • In an interview with Alan Henderson AND his parents, they agreed that Knight was no
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  • You can blame three things for any decline in HS basketball. Going to the class system and losing all of those magical sectional and regional sites, lack of television coverage for the tournament like channel 4 had back in the day, and Peyton Manning and the Colts.
  • I was an IU basketball fan in the 70's before I attended Purdue because my high school coach was a friend of Bob Knight. He had a tremendous impact in the 70's and 80's, and I have great respect for his coaching. Unfortunately, he was allowed to become bigger than life, and he also didn't adapt to a changing a culture with less tolerance for his antics. It's too bad he let that detract from his coaching record. It's true the Purdue-IU rivalry hasn't been the same since he left - yet. I wouldn't attribute the decline in high school basketball to Knight, though. It started long before 2000. The writer from Kansas City mentioned AAU only briefly if you read his whole article. I would argue that's in the Top 3 reasons for high school basketball's decline. In football, there is no AAU to compete for an athlete's pride and dedication so the players and fans remain committed to the school team. Class Basketball and the Sectional format are ruinous, too. Lastly, though I don't want to go backward, don't underestimate the impact of girls basketball on boys high school basketball. Every fan, every parent, every female player, every dollar, every inch of newsprint used to be devoted only to boys basketball. We're better off as a whole with the growth and popularity in girls basketball at every level, but again, football has no female counterpart to share its interest. And yes, bringing the Colts to Indy helps HS football, too!
  • Bobby Knight had his faults...lots of them. However, Bobby's graduation rate, his fundraising for the IU library and his general respect for education - something we see all too rarely in coaches - was to be applauded. That being said, walking out in the middle of a season, while under contract, smells fishy. There's got to be a backstory here that we haven't heard. Surely it will leak out at some point.

    Bobby was the Howard Stern of college basketball. You loved him because you never knew what he was going to do next or you hated him because you never knew what he was going to do next. Regardless of what he did, you wanted to watch him. He was just as big an event as the game itself.

    No matter what you thought of Knight, he was a master coach and will be remembered forever. The good, the bad and the ugly.
  • 09db8t
    Thank God this loudmouthed embarrassment is gone...although he skulked away just before he was to be fired! Bobby Knight was nothing more than a bug-eyed, obnoxious dolt who did little more in his career than to be a major contributor to the vacant mindset that champions teams like that thugfest we now call the Pacers. Good riddance!
  • Dolt or not, it's difficult to deny his impact on Indiana basketball. I think Whitlock's premise is intriguing. When you look at it, about the time the General left Hoosier-ville, (and maybe it was just the stars aligning), but it certainly looks like lots of attention shifted from the round ball to the pig skin. One way or another the state of Indiana basketball will never be the same.

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