Cheaney's hiring is significant sign for IU

June 21, 2011
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Indiana University’s hiring of former player Calbert Cheaney as director of basketball operations is more than a staff addition. It’s a sign that Bob Knight has finally ended his all-out effort to torpedo everything in and around Assembly Hall.

Cheaney isn’t the first of Knight’s former players to take a job at IU. Notably, Chris Reynolds is the associate athletic director and Dan Dakich served for a year during the Kelvin Sampson fiasco.

But Cheaney may be the most significant. First, he’s a Knight loyalist, and by far he’s the most accomplished as a player to take an IU job in the post-Knight era.

Do you think the 1993 college player of the year asked his former college coach about going back to Bloomington? Hard to tell with Knight, but that’s a solid bet.

Did Knight give his cheerful blessing? I doubt it, but the fact he didn’t derail Cheaney’s return to Bloomington shows that Knight doesn’t have the kind of disdain for current coach Tom Crean as he has for past IU coaches.

Crean has done everything he can to diffuse the situation. IU Athletics Director Fred Glass’ efforts to reach out to Knight are well documented, and they appear to be working at least to a certain extent.

If Knight were still grinding his ax the way he was during the Mike Davis era when he got in the ear of high school players, coaches and anyone else who would listen about IU’s ills, Cheaney never would have taken such a position, which will make him a valuable lieutenant in the all important recruiting war.

Per NCAA rules, Cheaney will be involved with on-campus recruiting and will make observations about the players, but he will not be an on-court coach during practices.

There’s another possibility. Knight had zero input or impact on Cheaney’s decision. At least that would indicate he’s ceased spewing venom against IU and the distance between the two are growing so great that his termination no longer has an impact on the program.

Either way, I don’t expect Knight to sing the Hoosiers’ praises—or even utter IU’s name—on ESPN any time soon. But IU, in small ways anyway, seems to be finally extracting itself from the post-Knight muck.

Will Knight ever return to Bloomington to hear the roar of the Assembly Hall crowd again? That’s anybody’s guess.

But Cheaney’s hiring at least indicates his heart might be softening a little. And the war within may be finally coming to an end.

  • iu and Cheaney
    It simply doesn't matter. The disaster in Bloomington called IU athletics will continue in infamy. The genie cannot be put back in the bottle, no matter how much you spin or how many Knight loyalists are hired.

    And you can take this to the bank. There will never be another NCAA Basketball Championship banner achieved by iu. Sorry, party's over for good. Turn out the lights and faggedaboudit.....

    Indiana basketball - ruined by Myles Brand and Blake Ress. The state would have been better served by Snoop Dogg than these two oafs.
  • amazing
    I find it bewildering and honestly silly that in 2011 the sporting media still spins so many things related to IU basketball in terms of how this relates to Bob Knight. Let it go.
  • I'll take that bet Berwick
    Berwick's typically negative post is more ludicrous than usual. Perhaps he's not paid attention to the incoming players signed to join the Hoosiers in the next 4 years. Perhaps his disdain (and justifiably so) of former IU administration bozos has clouded his rational thinking. Regardless, to say there will never be another NCAA champion banner in Assembly Hall is laughable. But then, the majority of Berwick's post are laughable.
  • Great Hire for IU
    Cheaney was a great hire for both the players and the alumni. Cheaney knows what it takes to be successful in the college game and the NBA game. As a result, Cheaney can be a great mentor to 4 year players like Jordan Hulls and also help NBA ready guys like Gary Harris (keeping my fingers crossed) tweak their game to improve their draft status. Cheaney's hire will only help IU build their foundation over the years.
    On the other hand, there are still a lot of IU fans that are stuck in the Bob Knight era. Most of these fans are aluni in their 50's and 60's and grew up watching the "Good Old Days of IU basketball." Tom Crean's hiring of Calbert should engage this group of fans to start caring about IU basketball again. Let's face it, this group of fans/alumni are the ones with the most money. Despite the beautiful new complex outside of Assembley Hall, IU will need to continue to improve its facilities to remain competitive in the recruiting game.
    Lastly, let's not forget that Tome Crean is helping Cheaney move forward in his career. Unfortunately, Calbert will not be here forever. This job will allow him to land a head coaching job or upper management position with elsewhere.
  • Berwick's probably right
    SteveR , actually I don't think Berwick's post is all that unbelievable. I am 54 and I sure do not think I will see IU win a men"s BB championship in my lifetime. It is very hard to win one and all things have to fall in place for that to happen. If you know anything about basketball at all you will have seen that Crean is just an average coach. Probably middle of the pack in the big ten. Usually that doesn't translate to to a championship team unless there is superior talent present. The recruiting is better but still nowhere near the level a run a the championship would require. IU's reputation as a basketball power is nowhere near it was when Knight was here and probably never will be. A championship in my or your lifetime (and really ever again{ is a huge longshot, and I have been a IU fan for life.
  • Future is Bright
    The Cheaney hire is great for IU. I would expect him to move into an assistant coach role in the coming seasons where he will have more direct impact on player development.

    In the meantime, Tom Crean has put together a top 2 or 3 recruiting class for 2012 and the classes that follow are shaping up very well also. The 2012 class may be one of the best recruiting classes in IU history when it's all sai dand done. Crean is locking up the best high school players in the state, which is something Davis and Sampson never could do. The state of Indiana has some of the best high school players in the nation over the next 4 years. The future is indeed bright and I think that there is a good liklihood that Crean can hang another banner or 2 at Assembly Hall.
  • iu

    Nice try, Stevey. we hear that every year about a great recruiting class. We also hear that about iu and ND football. Doesn't seem to make much difference, does it?

    Sorry, the legend has been forever tainted. Even when you look at logoware in catalogs, IU is nowhere to be found. Minimized by years of buffoonery. I too, am an alum and former loyalist. But when Brand could find no better way than to set up a legendary coach to fail, I moved on.

    Time for you to realize the party's over. Wishful thinking and bright horizons fall over schools elsewhere these days. No more in Bloomington.

    Wake up, dude......
    • BerwickGuy = Crumedgeon
      Wow, the disdain that some people (BerwickGuy) carry for IU is comical. Brand is gone, Davis is gone, Herbert is gone, Greenspan is gone, Sampson is gone and still the disdain for the university. Even with class acts such as McRobbie, Glass and Crean.

      Even if you don't feel taht Crean is a great coach I can't believe that people still cary the disdain due to administrations past. Maybe Crean is nothing more than an average coach, but then again maybe he's not. We haven't gotten the chance to see that with the mess that was inherited.

      How it isn't obvious that the program has changed directions and is headed in the right direction is beyond me.

      I guess some people just get old in the head, and a set mindset and turn into crumudgeons (BerwickGuy).

      Others, look at the situation and evaluate based upon sound reason, intellect and maybe a little faith.

      It's sad that some people have lost the faith and the reasoning ability due to some poor decisions by people who have long left.

      I hope that BerwickGuy doesn't get too disappointed when Tom Crean leads the Hoosiers back to be a contender and elite college basketball power. It isn't too far away.
      • Good addition
        I'm an IU fan and alumni who is 30. I remember watching Cheaney and the other IU greats in middle school. I'm very excited to see him back at IU and really feel this is a step in the right direction to recapturing the excitement of those days. In name recognition and publicity alone, he is helping.

        As to a national championship, I think another one is right around the corner. My senior year at IU, we went to the final game - post Bob Knight. With the new classes in the next few years, I think we will get there again. I believe Crean is right on track and Cheaney will be a good addition.

        In terms of these post Bob Knight hard feelings among players, let's not forget that Dane Fife coached at IPFW for many years with success and has moved on to Michigan State. I don't think players harbor resentment towards the university. (Well, except maybe Neil Reed:) ) IU will rise again.
      • iuRyan
        That's ok iuRyan, your name says it all. Gee, it's too bad your college intellect turns to name calling.

        You can have all the faith you want. That doesn't end in results, and they just aren't there. Will they win a few more games than last, sure. Banners, no way! Just keep on drinking the iu koolaid.

        See how much respect iu gets around the nation and how many times the school is included in consideration of what you call powerhouses. It's just not there.

        There's been too much damage done. Enough for me to find my entertainment elsewhere and to be ashamed of the shcool I attended. Sorry, but that's hard to forget. While those names you mentioned may be gone, their legacy of destruction lives on.

        Crean - great guy, yes; great coach, no. And there will be no one to follow that will lead them to the heights you desire. Sorry, they just don't deserve it anymore.

        Enjoy you koolaid.......
      • Comical
        My favorite memory when knight was fired was from Bill Benner "Anyone can win at Indiana" How many losing season has IU had??? Zero under Knight, but now it's expected and .500 is a good season. EMBARRASSING.

        The curse of the General continues, enjoy 19 or 20 win seasons - When 23 win seasons got Knight fired for being average.

        Tommy "clapping" Crean is a car salesman and out of his league.

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