Dear Bobby Knight

Dear Bobby Knight
Feb 20, 2006, 02:31 am
Dear Bobby Knight,

Long time no speak. How’s Texas Tech treating you? Indiana sucks, it hasn’t been the same since you left. After a fast start with your recruits, Mike Davis couldn’t keep it together, and the inevitable finally happened. Davis announced last week that he wasn’t quitting, days before he officially quit. He seems like a nice enough guy, but clearly, he can’t take the heat. Fans in Bloomington are demanding to say the least, and they’ve been calling for his head for years now. But if you listen closely to the Hoosiers’ cries, you’ll hear a demand for something else besides Davis’s resignation. A low, spiritual chant echoes in the spaces between the hisses and boos. Can you hear it coach Knight? The Hoosiers are calling you back, and we all beg you to answer their call.

Your first response, as always, will be ‘no,’ and your second answer will probably be ‘@#$% off.’ Heck, the university deserves it for the way they treated you. Turned you into the bad guy, that’s what they did. Allowed a couple of unfortunate mistakes to make them forget all the glory and showmanship. Shame on them. You deserve the chance to publicly embarrass them, to act like you don’t need their charity. When Davis steps down, let the rumors swirl and give a few weeks of ‘no comment’ to the reporters who ask you about the disaster at Indiana. Let Bloomington burn for a while.

But after that initial period of spite and scorn, take a step back and look at the big picture. The sad truth is, Bobby, you need the Indiana job just as much as the Hoosiers need you. Your fall from grace has slowly progressed from tragic to comedic, never a good thing for the most unapologetic, unrelenting, self-proclaimed hard ass of all time. You’ve turned into a caricature of yourself, playing pitchman for mom and pop businesses on local TV, plastering the 5 inch by 7 inch logo of your latest shoe company endorsement all over your game day sweater vest, and doing your best Sergeant Slaughter impression for reality television. Next thing I know you’ll be spending the offseason in “The Surreal Life” house with Omarosa and Ben Savage. It’s tough to strike fear in the hearts of players and referees after they’ve seen you drunk and topless, cradling half a bottle of Jim Beam in the confessional booth, complaining that Boy Meets World shoots too much when you play pool basketball. It’s time for a change.

Seriously, what are you clinging to at Texas Tech? We can all see it has nothing to do with basketball; you’re looking up at Nebraska and Texas A&M in the Big Twelve standings for Pete’s sake. It’s not your fault, you didn’t suddenly forget how to coach. The problem is that nobody wants to go play at Texas Tech, a school that will always be a third wheel in Texas college sports. Football is king down there, and because of football, the Aggies and Longhorns have the sports market cornered. Perhaps you’d be able to overcome Tech’s status as the forgotten sports child if there were something appealing about Lubbock, but just writing the word ‘Lubbock’ is enough to depress me. It sounds like a disease of the intestinal tract, not a city. The official municipal website lists the Putt-Putt Fun Center as a significant cultural attraction (seriously, look it up). Blue chip prep school prospects may love the chance to squeeze one under the windmill for hole in one on the 15th, but it doesn’t have quite the same appeal as the nightlife in Austin.

The case against Lubbock is easily made, but what about the case for Bloomington? First and foremost, they love basketball out there. Southern Indiana is home to three things: soy bean farms, the Ku Klux Klan, and basketball addicts. What makes Indiana University so great is that they’ve managed to filter out the soy and the Klan (for the most part), and created an isolated community of ball-a-holics. Go to any gym on campus, any time of year, and I promise it will be packed with players. I spent a summer there a few years back, and the only thing that kept me going was basketball. Every day in July the temperature was over 90, and every day I walked to the courts with the hope that one or two of the walk-ons might happen to be there to abuse me in a pickup game. They obliged more times than my ankles care to recount, and even though they beat me like a rented mule, I left with a smile on my face, feeling like a Hoosier. You can’t tell me there’s not plenty of Hoosier left in you, Bobby.

No doubt, your return would be good for Bloomington, but what about you? Simply put, if you go back to IU, you become untouchable. You could tie some poor kid to a chair on the bench, then grab him by the throat and throw him and the chair on to the court, and the university wouldn’t raise an eyebrow. If they rehire you after all your past troubles, they can never fire you again. Bring back the boxer brief length game shorts, send the players to West Point for preseason conditioning, hire Isiah Thomas as a an assistant coach -- no matter how bad your decisions are, it doesn’t matter, because the program needs to be proud again. You’ve got at least one win for every tantrum you’ve ever thrown, and that’s the bottom line. Indiana needs its swagger back, and no one has a louder, more bloodshot swagger than you.

Finally, your return to IU is good for us, the rest of the basketball world. Other than Kobe, no one is loved and hated more than you. Americans thrive on unethical macho aggression, public embarrassment of sports officials, and second chances; you’ve got all the bases covered. You’re an egomaniac who gets results. A beautiful mess of a basketball genius who’s good for drawing up last second plays during the game, and drawing out laughter and tears in the post game press conference. All that personality is wasted down in Lubbock. You need the national spotlight to reveal your brilliance, and Indiana is still a premiere program. It makes too much sense not to return.

The sad fact of the matter, Coach Knight, is that your window is closing. If you finish your coaching career at Texas Tech, what will your legacy be? That you once coached Andre Emmett? You’ve got bigger hills to climb, and more talented young athletes to psychologically destroy. There is a decent chance that if you stay in Lubbock, you’ll keep losing and people will forget who you used to be. If you decide then, after 3 more mediocre seasons, to leave Tech, the market will have dried up. Everyone will say the game has passed you by, or that you can’t connect with recruits anymore. You once said your critics could kiss your ass, but if you stay in Lubbock, they’ll just continue to rightfully whip it. Strike while the iron is hot Bobby, go home again. For all of us.

The Volume Shooter

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