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Monday, June 17
The Indiana Daily Student

sports

Knight speaks out to ESPN

Coach uses interview to rebut allegations

Bob Knight said that if he had taken a year to go out and find a place ideal for himself, he could not find a better place than Bloomington. He's uncovered the best hunting and fishing spots in the area. He also said the best crowds in the country are found in Assembly Hall. And certainly, the city is home to a few of his closest friends.\nWhile his home, nestled in the woods outside of Bloomington, has remained unchanged, the people in the University have changed. His friends at IU have come and gone. \nIn an interview with ESPN Tuesday evening, Knight said he has known for the past few years he didn't fit in with the new crowd. Knight said he didn't think he "had any chance to abide by the rules" and that the administration's allegations against him were a matter of interpretation. When questioned by the Indiana Daily Student Monday about the events surrounding the decision to fire him, Knight declined to comment.\nBrand said Sunday there were "many instances in the last 17 weeks in which Coach Knight has behaved and acted in both a defiant and hostile manner." Knight rebutted some of those accusations in his ESPN interview.\nKnight denied he was unwilling to work with athletics director Clarence Doninger, saying "there was nothing that came up where I needed to interact with the athletics director in any way." Knight also denied that he "verbally abused" University Counsel Dorothy Frapwell.\nWhen asked why he insisted on touching freshman Kent Harvey on the arm to teach a lesson of respect, Knight told ESPN that it is his nature, and he would approach the situation the same any day of the week.\n"What I did with that student was teach him about manners," Knight said.\nVice President for Public Affairs and Government Relations Christopher Simpson said the ESPN interview invoked in him a feeling of sadness.\n"It reminds me of the side of Bob Knight that we haven't talked about in the last 72 hours," Simpson said. "It's the side that brought us national championships and Big Ten championships and extraordinarily high graduation rates. And brought us a program devoid of NCAA problems. It's a man who spent a lot of time doing charitable work. That's gone with Bob Knight and that's where I feel the most sadness.\n"I have unbelievable respect for Bob Knight," Simpson said. "It's time for Knight to be heard and I'm glad he had that opportunity." \nKnight told ESPN that when he took the job as head coach at IU, he didn't know what the future would hold. Today, 29 years later, Knight is in the same position, calling himself an "unemployed teacher." Knight also told ESPN that the main reason he stayed, despite a desire to resign, was the players.\n"I probably should've gone somewhere else," Knight told ESPN. "There's a place that's a better fit for me as a basketball coach. I didn't do it because of the kids we have here. I have an obligation to the kids because they came to play for me."\nBefore he was fired, Brand said he gave Knight one more chance to resign at about 10:30 p.m. Friday and the coach declined. He has yet to give up his coaching career.\n"There are too many things I have yet to explore about the game of basketball," Knight said.\nBut now he must experiment somewhere else. \n"People always make things different. See, that's the big difference for me in the last four or five years as opposed to prior to that," Knight said. "Bear Bryant once said you have to have an iron clad contract to protect yourself from a time when the president would lose his guts. And I think what he was referring to then was that people change. And I've seen that. \n"I had five years at West Point that I really enjoyed and one year just wasn't particularly enjoyable because the people that were making decisions had changed."\nStaff reporter David Uchiyama contributed to this story.

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