Indiana coach breaks silence

Posted: Wednesday, May 31, 2000

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Bob Knight says he doesn't need professional help in controlling his temper and that his behavior in 29 years as Indiana coach ''overall has been good.''

''If you took the percentages of times that I have really gone overboard in whatever way, in whatever circumstances, that's a pretty small percentage of all the circumstances I've been in,'' he told ESPN Tuesday night.

Under a new ''zero-tolerance'' policy imposed on him by the school, Knight said he needs to keep his temper under control at all times.

''To me, it is kind of a simple equation: I have to be able to do all the time basically what I've done most of the time now,'' he said.

On May 15, following an investigation into allegations that Knight choked a player during practice in 1997, university president Myles Brand suspended him for three games, fined him $30,000 and imposed the policy that will result in his immediate dismissal for any act that is deemed to be embarrassing to the school.

Asked if he needed professional help to control his temper, Knight responded emphatically: ''No, I don't.''

Knight said that as far as disciplining himself about his anger, ''in most cases, I'm pretty good.''

''I think that I've obviously made a mistake here and a mistake there,'' he said. ''But I don't think those mistakes define the person.

''I've understood for a long time -- maybe way back when I was playing in high school -- that temper is a problem for me,'' Knight said. ''I think that in many, many cases I've conquered it, and in some cases I haven't.''

Knight also told ESPN in the live interview that he would like to see a legal lottery established, to benefit the school library, for people to pick the time when he will ''blow up.''

''The longer the time when I'll blow up, the more expensive it will be,'' he said. ''What we'll do then is turn everything over to the library. When it is all said and done, the library is going to make a lot of money out of this.''

Knight was asked what he thought his legacy at Indiana would be.

''My legacy has never been any big deal,'' Knight said. ''My legacy is what comes back to me when I look in the mirror. I've made mistakes, I've screwed up. ... I know what I've given to this game.''

He also said that resigning ''was never for me much of a valid option.''

Knight's remarks to ESPN, and earlier in the day to a hand-picked group of reporters, were his first extensive comments since Brand imposed the sanctions and gave him one last chance to keep his job.

During the investigation, other charges surfaced, including one that he hurled a vase in the direction of a secretary and attacked a former assistant coach and the university's sports information director.

In answering about 40 questions from the print reporters earlier Tuesday, Knight said he can abide by the sanctions.

''I think I can live within any set of parameters, as long as my mouth is not taped shut. I think you do have to be able to speak,'' Knight said, according to one of the reporters, Hubert Mizell of The St. Petersburg (Fla.) Times.

''There are two reasons why I am now (still) the Indiana basketball coach,'' Knight was quoted as saying. ''No. 1 is the players. They have been very supportive. No. 2 is the president, who made a decision a lot of people did not agree with.''

He said the scrutiny that will come with Brand's rigid policy for behavior won't make him a different person, ''but there can be a different approach.''

''I think my wife (Karen) is as good at anger management as anyone I could imagine. She's got magnets hung up all over the house that say, 'The horse is dead. Get off,''' he said.

University vice president Christopher Simpson said Knight selected the reporters for Tuesday's session. An Associated Press reporter who attempted to join the group for the interview in Assembly Hall was ordered to leave.

''Coach Knight wanted to have a group of reporters both locally and nationally that he felt had been relatively fair and objective in their coverage,'' Simpson said. ''Those are the ones he invited to be with us today.''

Simpson said Knight was not ordered by Brand or anyone else to meet with the media.

''The president had asked him in his dealings with the media in the future to handle them with decorum and civility,'' Simpson said. ''Based on what I just heard ... I think he's off to a wonderful start. We can be nothing but optimistic.''

The reporters who interviewed Knight were Mizell; Lynn Houser and Mike Leonard of the Bloomington Herald-Times; Dave Kindred of The Sporting News; William Gildea of The Washington Post; Ursula Reel of the New York Post; and Billy Reed of the Lexington (Ky.) Herald-Leader.

Knight answered critics would thought he was kept at Indiana because of his record, which includes three national championships and 11 Big Ten titles with the Hoosiers. He is 661-240 at Indiana and 763-290 overall, including six years at Army.

''I could care less if we won 500 games or 1,500 games or who has won more games than we have,'' Knight said.

He said no one ''has truly loved the game more than I have.''

Subscribe to Peninsula Clarion

Trending this week:


© 2018. All Rights Reserved. | Contact Us