Indiana Daily Student

Players pledge support for Knight, program

Junior Kirk Haston sat in the men's locker room Sunday morning letting the news sink in. Then he went to church and prayed. It wasn't the first time Haston has had someone close to him taken away. And to him, coach Bob Knight is a father-figure.\nBasketball trainer Tim Garl informed Haston, a junior forward, around 10 a.m. that Knight had been fired. The University gave an official announcement at 3:15 p.m. Sunday at the IU-Purdue University at Indianapolis campus. Haston and the rest of the team attended the press conference to voice their support for Knight, and they agreed the future of the team is uncertain.\n"It's like a family loss to me," said Haston, whose mother passed away about a year ago. "I've only had one other experience in my life that would overshadow this as far as emotionally where I've been the last couple of days. To have that support for so long and to have that taken away is very disheartening."\nA replacement coach has yet to be named and no candidates have been mentioned, but redshirt freshman forward George Leach said he will leave the program if either assistant coaches Mike Davis or John Treloar are not named as interim head coach.\n"President Brand is being a coward not sticking up for coach Knight and what he's done here at IU," Leach said. "I red-shirted a year, a long year, waiting to play for coach Knight. And now President Brand and his trustees have taken that dream away from me."\nJunior guard Dane Fife said he would "greatly consider leaving" if Davis or Treloar were not chosen as interim coach, but that conversations with athletics director Clarence Doninger left him under the assumption the coaches will remain in their position.\n"(Davis and Treloar) are here with us, they've lived and died with us," Fife said. "I've spoken with them this morning and there is no way they would leave us."\nAs students rally on campus following the press conference, freshman guard A.J. Moye leaned against Davis, resting his head on the coach's shoulder. Jeffrey Newton stood next to them with a dazed look in his eyes.\nThe quiet coach was unsure of what would happen next for all of them.\n"I don't know what's going through my head," Davis said. "I'm just trying to wait and see what's going on. I'm at a loss for words."\nDavis said he wasn't planning on teaching the "Coaching Basketball" class which meets Tuesday, and that he doesn't know who will be there. Davis met with the players during the rally, but said the entire program is waiting for Knight to return from a trip to Canada before any internal decisions are made.\n"I'm going to try to get in touch with him as soon as possible," Haston said. "I really do take in everything he says. (Knight's) opinion and what he thinks is in my best interests (are going to be things) I'll really take into consideration. And I'm going to ask him what he thinks is in the best interests of the team."\nWhen the players met with Brand after the football game Saturday, they had the job of informing the president about what they felt was in "the best interests of the team." Leach said he didn't get the impression Brand was listening closely.\n"We had to contact him yesterday at the football game for him to meet us eye to eye. I've never even seen the man. He kept repeating the same thing over and over, 'We'll do what's best for the University.' And I was like, 'OK, what about the program, what about us?'"\nBrand said he recognized the players' message, but that the team was not the No. 1 priority in the decision-making process.\n"The players are important to us," Brand said. "In the end, the single most important element was the future of Indiana University and we need to move on from here. We need to go forward."\nBut the players, especially the younger ones like freshman Andre Owens, said they don't know where to go from here. Owens said if the current coaching staff stays, he'll stay.\n"It doesn't make any sense," said Owens, one of the team's top recruits.\n"All this talent comes in here and the next thing you know, the season's about to get started and our coach is gone. What are we supposed to do, sit back and wait until we get a coach? I would've went somewhere else if I would've known it was going to be like this"

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