Bobby Knight on Donald Trump: 'The best man for the job'

The Dagger
Bobby Knight, Donald Trump.
Bobby Knight, Donald Trump.

Legendary former Indiana basketball coach Bobby Knight endorsed Donald Trump for president in a characteristically fiery, pugnacious speech on Wednesday night.

Knight, at least as well known for his take-no-prisoners attitude as his winning record, spoke to Trump supporters at a rally in Indiana. A sampling of his remarks, via Business Insider and The Hill:

• On Trump's qualifications: “They talk in a negative way when they want to about Donald, and say he isn’t presidential. I don’t know what the hell that means. To me I think of Harry Truman, they said Harry Truman wasn’t presidential. And damn he went on to be one of the three best presidents in U.S. history. [Trump] will at some point be one of those also.”

• On Trump's managerial touch: "He does a great job of finding good people and teaching good people. And even as important, he's really good at getting rid of people."

• On the value of Trump's supporters: "They're going to take all you people and put you next to our founding fathers and George Washington. That's what the hell they're going to do with you people."

• On military service: "I want all you Navy people to please raise your hands. And I want you to know that I spent eight years teaching soldiers at the United States Military Academy. And we played Navy eight straight years, folks, and we beat your ass every year we played you."

• On Trump's status as candidate: "I again thank you for the opportunity to coach basketball in this state, and now I give you the very best choice that's ever been made to take over as a president, I give you Donald Trump."

• On the similarities between himself and Trump, on Fox News: "If we're involved in something where we want to win, particularly something necessary, if there's something out there we want to win, we're going to try and beat your ass every time."

• On Trump's preparation: "There has never been a presidential candidate prepared to the length that this man is. I’m not here to represent the Republican Party or any organization that deals with politics. I think the most important thing in the world is that we vote for the best man for the job, and you’ve already met him."

Indiana voters will make thier choice for a Republican nominee next Tuesday. If Trump wins a majority of the state's delegates, he will be well on the path to the party's nomination. However, Indiana is heavily contested territory; polls generally favor Trump, but FiveThirtyEight posits a 53 percent chance the state could go for Republican rival Ted Cruz.

The selection of Knight as an endorser could cut either way for Trump. Knight won three national championships during his years at Indiana, but was fired in 2000 after violating the university's zero-tolerance stance on bad behavior when he lectured at, and grabbed the arm of, a student he perceived as disrespectful. Knight has since refused to associate himself with the university in any way, despite the efforts of later coaches and administrators to bring him back into the fold.

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Jay Busbee is a writer for Yahoo Sports and the author of EARNHARDT NATION. Contact him at jay.busbee@yahoo.com or find him on Twitter or on Facebook.

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