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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?