But he hasn’t said ‘no’ either. And that has IU Athletics Director Fred Glass heartened. Glass last month sent an intermediary, a close Knight friend (I’m guessing it’s former Bloomington Herald-Times Sports Editor Bob Hammel), to ask Knight to attend the Nov. 6 induction. The following day, there is to be a half-time presentation at IU’s home football game.
Knight will be inducted along with several other IU sports greats, including retired soccer coach Jerry Yeagley and former basketball player Steve Downing. Glass is trying not to get too excited about the proposition of Knight showing up. He hasn’t put any deadline on an RSVP from Knight, who IU fired in 2000.
“It’s very dangerous to try to read the tea leaves,” Glass said. “We don’t want to put any pressure on Coach Knight. I take it as a modest good sign that he didn’t dismiss it out of hand.”
Glass has said that he hopes if Knight accepts the invitation that could be the start of a deeper relationship between the former coach and the university.
Sports marketers speculate that Glass could move to name part of Assembly Hall for Knight, and said that could open up a bevy of corporate sponsorship opportunities. Knight is sure to bristle at any commercialization of his name or affiliation to IU, so Glass is likely to tread lightly there.