What a Knight: The Former IU Coach Regales Us in Greenwood

We all knew Bob Knight could coach. As it turns out, he’s good for a few laughs, too. Wry, folksy, animated, and, of course, salty, he had the crowd snorting and guffawing at the Gathering Place in Greenwood last night, for A Knight to Remember, a fundraiser benefitting the Greenwood Public Library. Here, a few of the highlights.

On the 1984 Olympics:

[He asks five men from the crowd to stand and face the audience.] “I think the most enjoyable part of my career in coaching was having the opportunity to coach the Olympic team … Our first game was Uruguay. Our first challenge in the 1984 Olympics. And I want you to take a good look at these five guys. Stand up straight for the audience. Take a good look at these five, because I’m here to tell you, unequivocally, that these five sumbitches could’ve beaten Uruguay.”


On Michael Jordan:

“Best all-around player ever in a team sport.”

On IU’s 1987 championship squad:

“The smartest I’ve ever coached.”

On Steve Alford:

“He could not guard a piano.”

On “The Shot” in the ’87 championship game:

“Now you all remember Keith Smart’s shot. Not one of you will remember this. On the [inbound] pass to Coleman, Keith is playing defense over here, and on the pass he almost gets his hand on the ball … And when he sees he can’t get the ball he passes Coleman and grabs his arm. Foul. One and one. Other end of the floor. That foul that Keith committed was maybe the smartest play that I ever saw in basketball. Because without that foul I don’t think we’d have won the game. That foul was so much more important than the shot that he made subsequent to that … Now Coleman is on the line, and he misses, and Keith ends up making the basket. We win the national championship.”

On God:

“I’m not a guy who prays a lot. I kinda leave the Almighty to himself.”

On a fellow coaching legend:

“I never had the chance to meet Lombardi and I’ve always regretted that.”

On what he told his wife Karen when she gave him coaching advice:

“Why don’t you go bake a cake or something?”

On the past:

“When you’ve had the chance to coach, you’re going to have some memories you want to forget about but can’t.”

On Mike Woodson:

“Best offensive player I ever coached at Indiana.”

On league tournaments:

“I’ll think to the day I die that a post-season league tournament is ridiculous.”


Photo via Greenwood Public Library