Ex-Assistant To Sue Indiana, Knight

Tuesday, June 6th 2000, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Bob Knight isn't out of the woods yet.

Former Indiana assistant basketball coach Ron Felling intends to sue Knight and IU for more than $1 million stemming from the coach's alleged attack on the longtime assistant last December, his attorney said Monday.

Felling's attorney, Bil Potter, sent school officials a tort claim letter in late May notifying the university of his client's intent to sue. Felling, 60, was fired in December, reportedly after a fight with Knight.

He had been an assistant to Knight at Indiana for 15 years

His tort claim accuses the university of negligence, negligent supervision, battery and age discrimination, citing Felling's ``lost income, pain and suffering and mental humiliation, all totaling in excess of $1,000,000.''

``This makes it clear that he, Bob Knight, attacked Ron Felling after he was wrongfully terminated. At this point, I can't go into the details, but I can tell you it was a violent physical assault,'' Potter said.

The tort claim alleges that Indiana University officials were negligent in not doing more to monitor Knight despite his history of violent outbursts.

``Mr. Knight has a history of violent behavior and confrontation; yet, Indiana University has not properly supervised him by appropriate disciplinary action,'' the claim states.

CNN/SI, which first reported Felling's intent to sue Monday, previously aired a report in which Felling claimed Knight fired him after overhearing a telephone call in which the assistant said Knight took the fun out of winning.

That report said Knight later struck Felling in the chest with two closed fists during a fight at Assembly Hall.

An IU official confirmed that it has received the tort claim, which was sent by certified mail May 26.

``We received the notice of tort claim from Felling's attorneys and we're certainly going to look into these allegations, but I cannot comment further on pending litigation,'' IU vice president Christopher Simpson told The Associated Press on Monday.

Last month, Indiana suspended and fined Knight and said he must adhere to a ``zero-tolerance policy'' following an investigation into a claim he choked a player in 1997.

A tape, which was first aired on CNN/SI in April, shows Knight grabbing Neil Reed during an Indiana team practice.

IU associate athletic director Steve Downing, a former player for Knight, has said Felling told him he kept the tape since 1997 for possible use as his ``trump card.''

Potter said Felling has also filed a separate complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission accusing IU of age discrimination. He said three younger assistants are now handling the duties Felling once handled as part of his job.