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Monday, June 17
The Indiana Daily Student

sports

Waiting for the phone to ring

Knight's secretary sat wondering when he would call. Two days after he did, she was on her way to Texas, leaving all she's known behind.

Mary Ann Davis, a secretary who spent 24 years alongside former men's basketball coach Bob Knight, spent her last months at IU answering a phone that never rang.\n"Whenever I came in there, she'd be asking someone, 'Is there something I can do,'" her son Eric, now a junior at IU, said. "She just sat there. Every day, she called me and she said she wasn't happy. She was miserable."\nNestled on the north end of Fee Lane, Davis spent her last five months in Thomas House, hidden in the face of the athletics department's jewels, Assembly Hall and Memorial Stadium.\nDavis said she felt hidden. She felt neglected.\nShe felt forgotten.\n"I basically was sent over there to sit. I didn't do anything," Davis said. "The phone that was at my desk wasn't anyone's phone. I just sat there. It was a sign to me that they wanted me out. \n"They wanted me to quit."\nIf that's what "they" wanted, they got their wish. One day after Knight was introduced as Texas Tech's 12th men's basketball coach, Davis was on a plane to Lubbock, Texas. Two days later, she had a house next to a golf course -- and an office bigger than most vice presidents on the IU campus.\nClarence Doninger, former IU athletics director, said the University never expressed ill-will toward Davis, saying her position in Thomas House was temporary until other arrangements were settled with IU.\nIt became apparent to Doninger that Davis was waiting for Knight to be hired at another school, Doninger said.\n"That was my impression, that she was going with him," said Doninger from his Indianapolis home. "The University was extremely fair with her."\nAfter men's basketball coach Mike Davis asked Mary Ann Davis to leave days after Knight's firing -- an act she described as a coup -- Doninger gave Mary Ann Davis more than two months time to sort out Knight's unfinished affairs at IU.\nThe athletics department allowed her to work from home, installing an IU computer at her Bloomington residence, Doninger said.\nOnce finished with Knight's business, the University stepped in to find Mary Ann Davis a new job.\n"After 28 years on campus, they wanted me to take a typing test," Davis said. "They wanted me to go out and do interviews with other departments. Here I am, a valuable employee, and they just didn't want to work with me. All my rights were removed."\nSo while looking for a permanent position, Mary Ann Davis began filling time in the Thomas House, an auxiliary athletics building that houses the women's crew coaches, an academic counseling unit and Edgar G. Williams, former IU vice president for administration.\nWilliams said he never worked with Mary Ann Davis and wouldn't "speculate what she did," while the crew coaches maintain their own staff.\nSo Davis sat by a phone that didn't ring and waited for a call -- from her old boss, Bob Knight.\nIn a few months, her world had changed, both at work and at home.\n"It was really rough for her because she just went through a divorce," Eric Davis said. Her other son, Ryan, had just left IU to join the Air Force. He is currently stationed at Eglin Air Force Base in Fort Walton Beach, Fla. "That's all she's ever known -- working for Coach Knight has been her life and it was just ripped away from her."\nWhen Knight was hired at Texas Tech, Davis decided to leave her son, her parents, her work and her hometown behind.\nWorking 12-hour days in what would have been Knight's office -- he's tearing out an area next to Davis for his space -- Davis said she is excited to be busy again.\nAnd she said she's glad that the confrontations stayed in Bloomington.\n"There, the last five or six years we had a battle with someone over something ridiculous all the time," Davis said. "It was a power struggle. Every day. Every day. \n"Down here, there aren't those daily battles"

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