In my little screed yesterday about how the Republican values of fake piety, cheating, and worship of authority pervade the discussion of sports on Boston’s WEEI radio station, I mentioned the reputation of Bobby Knight, the winningest coach in the history of college basketball, for not cheating. By all accounts these were the priorities that guided his entire forty-year carreer:
1. Ensure an education (both academically and in life) for student-athletes.
2. Follow the NCAA rules.
Bob Knight retired yesterday, “effective immediately”.
I was among the many many people who thought that Indiana University did the right thing in firing Coach Knight. He never learned to control his temper, and could be an outrageous bully. He forced the situation at Indiana, essentially telling the regents of the school, “me or the president of the University: one of us has to go.” So, appropriately, he was told to go, leaving a school where he had coached for 29 years and won three national championships. He spent the twilight of his career putting little-known Texas Tech on the basketball map.
Knight’s nickname was “the General” or “the little General”, and Texas Tech was a kind of exile, his own little Elba Island. But if he thought it was an ignominious come-down, he never let on. To me, an occasional watcher of college basketball games on TV, Knight seemed as happy there as he did anywhere else. Which is not very happy at all.
Today I tip my cap to the man. Dan Wetzel of Yahoo Sports has written a great appreciation of Knight’s integrity here.
In the comments, Armands makes a good point:
That’s twice now you’ve used the word “homoeroticism” without any context or explanation, and with an obvious disapproval. Very disheartened. Be more careful which words you treat as slurs, and how you throw them around.
In order to prevent any confusion about my intent, I’ve removed the word from the opening sentence.
Please see below for a clarification.