The made-for-TV movie will be called ''A Season on the Brink,'' and it's scheduled for airing March 10.
Anyone who can't wait that long for a Bob Knight fix is urged to tune in Friday, when Texas Tech starts playing for keeps against William & Mary.
Anytime Knight coaches anywhere, you're guaranteed a season on the brink. The brink of what, though, is the question.
There's no longer any point in rehashing everything that landed Knight on the wrong side of Indiana University's ''zero tolerance'' policy or delving too deeply into why, after a year off, he decided to take up an old friend's offer to get back into the racket.
What's important is where Knight and his new employers go from here. Texas Tech wanted attention, a competitive team and a program that graduates at least a few of its student-athletes. Given the chance, Knight will deliver all three to the Lubbock, Texas, campus -- but not necessarily in ways the school's administration dreamed about. For all the talk about him being a changed man, this is still the same Bob Knight.
Not long after taking the job, he joined the Red Raiders' women's basketball coach, Marsha Sharp, on a barnstorming tour of booster-club luncheons. Knight did more schmoozing and posing for pictures in a few days than he did in his last half-dozen years at IU. But the man in the familiar red sweater dashed any illusions about a fresh start when someone asked whether he would make any adjustments to a new team.
''When you are in charge,'' Knight said, ''there is not a whole lot of adjusting that needs to be done.''
The answer may have been vintage Bob, but it's wrong.
In 35 previous years of coaching, Knight has had exactly one losing season. From the look of things, he'll need plenty of luck and a soft non-conference schedule to avoid a few more.
The basketball team Knight inherited finished tied for last in the Big 12 last season, and it probably says more about the respect he Knight commands than the quality of his ballplayers that the coaches in his new conference picked Tech to finish 10th this season.
As a first-year coach, Knight was limited in terms of personnel moves, but it wasn't for lack of trying. Five days after taking over, he called in Jamal Brown, who led the team in minutes played and assists while averaging 10.7 points, and two little-used freshmen, and told them he wouldn't need them at all. Then Knight added four junior-college transfers, two freshmen and a walk-on to his six holdovers.
Considering he didn't get either the high schooler or the juco transfer he prized most, some people might consider Knight's recruiting efforts a bust. But it depends on how you keep score.
It turns out Knight's biggest recruiting coup may have been steering prize recruit Sean May away from Indiana. Sean, a Bloomington, Ind., native whose father, Scott, was college player of the year on Knight's 1976 Indiana team, committed to North Carolina just a few days after he and his father flew down to visit with Knight on a private plane provided by an IU trustee.
Knight hasn't disguised his desire to make life tough for his old school or his successor, coach Mike Davis, and so the most surprising thing about the incident is that he found the time to settle old scores. The motion offense and man-to-man defensive schemes Knight favors were a tough sell his last few seasons at Indiana, and that was with players he recruited and groomed.
One thing in Knight's favor is that the kids who play for him now understand they had better learn fast. When juco transfer Will Chavis was asked what style he preferred to play, you got the sense he'd been asked the same question behind closed doors. ''It doesn't really matter now,'' he said, ''because I play for coach Knight.''
Whether his new rivals in the Big 12 will show as much deference remains to be seen. It's hard to imagine Knight bullying Roy Williams at Kansas, Eddie Sutton at Oklahoma State or even Dave Bliss, his former assistant now calling the shots at Baylor.
''I talked to the players about respecting, but not fearing,'' said Colorado coach Ricardo Patton, who knocked Knight and Indiana out of the NCAA tournament in 1997. ''I respect coach Knight, but if we have as talented a team, then we have as good a chance to win.''
The movie, ''A Season on the Brink,'' chronicles Knight's 1985-86 national championship team. It will star Brian Dennehy as Knight and show up on ESPN on Selection Sunday, the day the NCAA tournament committee announces its 65-team field on CBS.
Knight won't show up on either channel that day. But if the season turns out anywhere near as tough as it looks, he'll be awfully close to the brink by then.
Jim Litke is the national sports columnist for The Associated Press. Write to him at jlitke(at)ap.org
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