It’s been 17 years, but Bobby Knight is still passionately grinding an ax against his former employer.
In a Friday appearance on “The Dan Patrick Show,” the three-time national champion coach didn’t hold back when Patrick asked him about ever returning to Indiana’s Assembly Hall.
Though Knight’s return is a frequently debated topic in the Hoosier State, the 76-year-old coach has never given any reason for hope among the crowd in Bloomington that would like to see him again after he was fired in 2000.
But Friday’s classless comments drove the nail down farther than it’s ever been.
“On my dying day I will think about how great the fans at Indiana were. As far as the hierarchy at Indiana University at that time. I have absolutely no respect whatsoever for those people,” Knight said on the show. “And with that in mind, I have no interest in ever going back to that university.”
“Aren’t all of those people out of there, coach?” Patrick asked.
“I hope they’re all dead,” Knight shot back.
“Well I know some of them are,” Patrick said, perhaps referring to then-Indiana president Myles Brand, who led Knight’s firing and died from pancreatic cancer in 2009.
“Well, I hope the rest of them go,” Knight said.
Knight’s comments are surprising for the amount of vitriol they contain almost two decades after he was fired for placing his hands on the neck of a player and a separate physical run-in with a student.
But for anyone who’s followed Knight during his five decades in the public eye, it’s also par for the course. The legendary bully may have had an uncanny knack for winning basketball games, but his complete lack of interest in helping anyone not named Bobby Knight has tarnished his legacy considerably.
In the 17 years since Knight was fired, the fans he cites as “great” have repeatedly pined to see him return to the program he built and cited the large amounts of money that could be raised for whatever cause they chose.
One of his former players AJ Guyton even penned an emotional open letter to Knight in 2014 asking him to attend Guyton’s induction into the school’s athletic hall of fame. (Knight passed.)
But faced with countless opportunities to take the high road for perhaps the first time in his life, Knight has not only declined but done so in the most childish way possible. Last year he visited Indiana’s rival Purdue just down the road and gave a speech at a fundraiser. Now he’s popping off on the radio wishing death to anyone on a staff that was faced with an unpopular decision but still made the right choice.
It’s a sad situation, one that Knight seems determined to take to his own grave.
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