Bob Knight may take criticism, at times, in his role as a television analyst, but one thing is undeniable: the man could coach at basketball team.
In his 29 seasons as the face of the Indiana program, he won 661 games and three national championships, on his way to becoming a standard-bearer when it comes to personality on the sidelines.
So how should the university honor him? One of his former players, an outspoken critic of the way in which Knight was forced to leave Indiana, spoke at a gathering Friday night.
The event was held to honor the hiring of Steve Downing, a friend of Knight’s, who is to become the athletic director at Marian University in Indianapolis.
‘I hope someday he (Knight) will be honored at Indiana. That needs to happen. Somebody needs to make that happen,’ Scott May, a starter on Knight’s 1976 unbeaten championship team, told the AP.
”I think they should name Assembly Hall after him, the Bob Knight Center,” he added.
It’s often standard practice for teams to christen an arena with the name of an influential coach, which makes it interesting to note that, despite Knight’s efforts to build the Indiana program, no huge step has been taken to cement his name into the physical history of the university.
According to the Associated Press, it’s a process and a process that needs to mend a few fences to move forward.
The school inducted Knight into its Hall of Fame in 2009, but he declined to attend the induction ceremony, saying he would take away from other inductees, were he to accept the invitation.
Perhaps Indiana just needs to find the right time.
“He’s a great coach and a great friend and he did a lot for Bloomington and Indiana University. I don’t know what it will take,” former player Bobby Wilkerson told the AP. I think it depends on who approaches him and how he feels about it. Maybe it could be something to help kids – that’s always a good cause. You don’t know, but that’s how I would angle it.”
Daniel Martin is a writer and editor at JohnnyJungle.com, covering St. John’s. You can find him on Twitter:@DanielJMartin_