Tainted Love: An IU fan’s perspective



It is a cold day on March 14, 2000. The #6 seed Indiana Hoosiers were on their way to the NCAA Tournament in two days to play the #11 seed Pepperdine Waves. Bob Knight is coaching the Hoosiers for his 29th season soon on his way to the 30 year milestone. However, a report from CNN comes out that former IU player Neil Reed had been choked by Coach Knight three years prior. Though Coach Knight had denied the claims, a video was later published with him putting his hands on Reed. Later that year. Knight was fired by the Indiana University administration for his actions. Despite his controversial actions, 29 years of legacy with the Hoosier program was under his vision. Was it right for the administration to fire him?

To understand what Bobby means to Indiana University, there must be a recap. Knight was hired in 1971. Within the years of coaching he had shown his talents. He won the Big Ten Conference Championship 11 times along with 3 NCAA championships, including the last undefeated championship team the NCAA has recorded in 1976 throughout his career in Bloomington. These stats are enough to not only cement his status as an icon for Hoosier basketball along with an impressive resume, but the stats would also draw more fans attracted to going to Assembly Hall, the church of basketball, to see games led by the legendary coach with a phenomenal program, including myself. 

However, most people just see the “Light Knight” where he coaches the team to success. When people are out of the court, the “Dark Knight” personality comes to appear. As his team came to noted success and great heights, so did his egotistical tendencies as a coach. Many notorious incidents throughout his long tenure have included grabbing players jerseys on both his and his opponents teams, stuffing an LSU fan in a trash can, and throwing chairs at the court over bad calls. There is no way to justify Coach Knight’s violent actions towards others throughout his career when he is supposed to be a leader and not an agitator. 

Now in the current day, it has been 19 years since Knight’s firing from the program. Local Bloomington reports have confirmed that he has purchased a house in the area even though he had claimed to have no interest in ever returning to the state of Indiana. Though some fans are thrilled to see a legend return to Hoosier country, others may not be keen to him being 3 miles from the church he preached his plays at, the Assembly Hall.

 This leaves Hoosiers fans like me have a dilemma in our hands: With Bob Knights return to Indiana, is it time to forgive him for his actions and embrace the legacy he set? Or do we remember his legacy yet still hold him accountable for being physically abusive towards others? 

20 years is a long time to forgive, but a short time to forget.