Knight remains as Indiana coach; fined, suspended
Monday, May 15th 2000, 12:00 am
By: News On 6
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) -- Bob Knight will remain basketball coach at Indiana but must sit out three games next season and pay a $30,000
fine for his "pattern of inappropriate behavior."
"I think the ethical approach is to give him one last chance," school president Myles Brand said at a news conference today.
Knight must also follow a supervised code of conduct and he will be fired immediately if he violates it or has physical contact with any player or university employee, Brand said.
He described the sanctions as a "zero-tolerance policy."
Knight was investigated by the school after former player Neil Reed accused the coach of choking him during a 1997 practice that was caught on videotape. During the investigation other accusations of verbal and physical abuse emerged.
"He has given me his word that he will take extraordinary steps to change behavior," Brand said.
"We have established tough, specific guidelines to send a clear message that abusive and embarrassing behavior will not be
Brand detailed the sanctions one day after trustees met in private to discuss their investigation into Knight's behavior. The
trustees then turned over Knight's fate to Brand.
"There are no sacred cows at Indiana University and that certainly includes the basketball coach," trustees president John
D. Walda said.
Brand said he met with Knight on Saturday to discuss his future.
"The conversation I had with Bob was clearly unique," he said.
"I had never seen him before contrite and apologetic."
He said he had considered firing Knight.
"As the discussion proceeded and Bob expressed the view that he very much wanted to change his behavior ... then we began to talk about sanctions," Brand said.
Knight, who has won three national championships in his 29 years at the school, did not attend the news conference. But Walda read a statement in which Knight said: "I recognize I have a problem with my temper. ... I am sincerely sorry."
On Saturday, the day before the trustee's meeting, the 59-year-old Knight issued a statement in which he first apologized for his temper and acknowledged he needs to be "more diplomatic."
He did not apologize to individuals or for specific episodes.
In addition to the three national titles, the Hall of Fame coach guided the U.S. Olympic team to a gold medal in 1984. But his successes often were overshadowed by his bullying behavior on and off the court -- from throwing chairs to profane outbursts against the media, players, fans and university employees.
In March, Brand appointed two trustees to investigate Reed's accusation.
Reed left the program in 1997 and transferred to Southern Mississippi after claiming he was physically and mentally abused by Knight. He did not elaborate in public at the time, but an
interview with CNN/Sports Illustrated, aired just before the start of this year's NCAA tournament in March, led to the investigation.
Indiana ended up losing its first-round NCAA game against Pepperdine, putting Knight's overall record, including six years at Army, at 763-290. He is 661-240 and has won 11 Big Ten titles with the Hoosiers.
Knight denied he ever choked Reed, although he admitted he may have grabbed him to move him to a specific spot on the floor during
Other charges began to surface, including one in which Knight allegedly attacked assistant coach Ron Felling in November. Felling left the team five days later.
Knight also reportedly clashed with athletic director Clarence Doninger after a loss late last season. A university secretary, Jeanette Hartgraves, said this month that 12 years ago Knight threw a vase that shattered near her, and that in 1998 he cursed her and had to be restrained by Doninger.
Brand said Knight would apologize to Hartgraves.
Knight's flare-ups are storied. Among them:
-- In 1979, Knight was convicted in absentia and sentenced to six months in jail for hitting a Puerto Rican policeman during the Pan
Am Games. Then-Gov. Otis Bowen refused to extradite him, and the government of Puerto Rico in 1987 dropped efforts to have him
-- Two years later, at the 1981 NCAA finals in Philadelphia, Knight was involved in a hotel shoving match with an LSU fan who said Knight stuffed him in a garbage can.
-- During the 1984-85 season, he threw a chair across the court during a game against Purdue. Knight was ejected and suspended for
one game and later apologized.
-- He was suspended for one game in 1993 after a sideline tirade in a home victory against Notre Dame. Knight screamed at his
player-son, Pat, and then appeared to kick him in the leg. When fans behind the Indiana bench started booing, Knight turned and
responded with an obscenity.
-- The next season, he accidentally head-butted player Sherron Wilkerson during a timeout at Michigan State. After the next game, the Hoosiers' home finale against Wisconsin, Knight took the public address microphone and recited a profane verse directed at his critics.
-- In 1995, he was reprimanded and fined $30,000 by the NCAA for a profane outburst at a postgame news conference in the NCAA
-- He was fined $10,000 by the Big Ten in 1998 for berating referee Ted Valentine, whose officiating Knight called "the greatest travesty" he had seen in his coaching career.