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Monday, June 17
The Indiana Daily Student

sports

Doninger remembers days leading up to Knight's firing

For former athletics director Clarence Doninger, Saturday, Sept. 9, 2000 was one of the most difficult days in his 10-year tenure in Bloomington.\nThe day started off with the IU-N.C. State football game in Bloomington that the Hoosiers lost in the final minutes 38-41. By the end of the day, the loss was the last thing on Doninger's mind. \nIt was during that game that IU President Myles Brand approached Doninger about the possibility that then-men's basketball coach Bob Knight could be fired.\n"I saw (Brand) at the game that day, and he indicated that a number of things had happened in connection with the zero tolerance policy, and he was seriously considering termination," Doninger said. "But he had not made up his mind."\nAlthough Doninger said he was not involved in the decision-making process that brought down the legendary coach, he was involved in the 15-20 minute meeting with the men's basketball players, Brand and Vice President for Administration Terry Clapacs prior to Knight's termination. \n"I indicated that I felt (Brand) should talk to the team and tell them where he was at that point, so after the football game, we talked to the team," Doninger said. "It was tense and awkward, but it was very polite."\nAfter the meeting, Doninger said he tried to contact the coach to discuss the situation, but his attempts failed. That night, Doninger traveled to his home in Indianapolis and didn't hear anything more about the situation until Clapacs called him Sunday.\n"Terry called me to inform me there had been a termination," he said. "He told me that there would be a press conference in Indianapolis and that they would like me to attend."\nDoninger said he wasn't surprised about the backlash and rioting after the firing.\n"You have to realize that there were a majority of Indiana people that supported that decision," he said. "It was a very, very vocal outcry, but that was primarily loyal, but small, majority of Knight supporters."\nDoninger said the relationship between himself and Knight had "deteriorated" during the past year and a half; something he called "unfortunate." He pointed out instances where Knight had called himself the athletics director of basketball, and that he had certain control of the basketball operations.\n"In terms of the athletic department, it continued to run," Doninger said. "It was very difficult in terms of that relationship." \nDespite their differences, Doninger wished Knight the best. He said he wished Knight's time at IU could have ended in more of a positive way with the coach using his last chance wisely.\n"I think that in terms of the circumstances, it was the proper and appropriate decision," he said. "Nobody did this to (Knight). It was Knight and some of his supporters that did it to him. He did this to himself; not taking advantage of the opportunity." \nAs for IU life without Knight, Doninger said Hoosier fans need to stand by their team and look back at the history of IU basketball to see that more success is still to come.\n"The athletic director is in a very solid position with good coaches and good teams," Doninger said. "People are moving on now"

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