Knight Disappointed He Stayed at IU

Friday, September 29th 2000, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

On television and in familiar form again, Bob Knight had more harsh words for Indiana University in the latest broadcast interview to follow his firing.

During a one-hour interview Wednesday night on ``Larry King Live,'' Knight criticized the way Indiana's administration, particularly school president Myles Brand, handled his dismissal, saying he should have left sooner.

``I'm disappointed that I stayed at Indiana for five years under a president like Brand,'' Knight said.

Brand fired Knight on Sept. 10, saying the coach violated a ``zero-tolerance'' policy that had been in place since May. Knight, as he did in an interview on ESPN two weeks ago, said terms of that agreement weren't made clear.

``Does that mean one technical foul? Zero means zero. I thought that probably was something that I had to avoid,'' he said.

The last straw for the coach came on Sept. 7, when Knight grabbed Indiana freshman Kent Harvey by the arm to lecture him about manners after the student said, ``Hey, what's up, Knight?''

Knight again disputed that he did anything wrong to Harvey, citing a recent encounter at a movie theater in which a young man wished him good luck and the coach responded by good-naturedly grabbing the back of his neck.

``The definition of inappropriate physical contact is how it's perceived by the person contacted,'' Knight said.

The ``zero-tolerance'' policy was the result of an investigation sparked by the release of a practice tape last spring that showed Knight grabbing former Hoosiers guard Neil Reed by the neck.

Knight, who spent 29 years at Indiana, said school administrators could have handled the situation in a less obtrusive manner.

``All they had to do is say, `We don't want you as a coach any longer,''' he said. ``Just tell me you don't want me here, and we avoid a lot of stuff.''

Knight took exception when King suggested that the coach and Indiana athletic director Clarence Doninger were once close friends.

``We started out as pretty good acquaintances and I think ended up on opposite sides,'' Knight said.

The coach said he worked with about 43 people at Indiana and got along with 38 of them.

While Knight has often been critical of the NBA, he said he would consider spending the season as an assistant to new Indiana Pacers coach Isiah Thomas, a former star player under Knight.

``If he would want me to do that, I could do that,'' Knight said.

But later, the coach backed off a bit, saying, ``I don't know if I'd make the commitment for the full year.''