Monday, February 04, 2008

Sad News

The General Retires

I remember the day that IU fired Bobby Knight (or General Robert Montgomery Knight). It was September 10, 2000. We had been in class just over a week, maybe not even that. Jay had just started at IU, it was his freshman year and he was living in Foster Harper just like I had. When we got the news Bobby was fired, I remember a lot of milling about and heading down to the heart of campus. Some people ran down to the center of campus to riot and be rowdy (Jay certainly did). Some of my girlfriends caught a ride down to the main plaza, by the Lilly Library and Showalter fountain. I don't remember why I didn't go down, but I am pretty sure I can blame it on too much homework, even that early in the semester.

It was my last semester of Spanish, and I was in a conversational Spanish class to finish out my minor. Those classes were the biggest time-suck of all time. They were held 4 times a week and I had hours of homework every night. Either that, or I was just too freaking lazy to walk the mile to the fountain.

I don't regret not heading to the center of campus... but it did sound like it had been alot of fun after everyone filtered back to the sorority and started telling stories. IU's huge Showalter fountain is in the center of campus and whenever anything REALLY big happened at IU, everyone ran down and rioted around that fountain. On the really big occaions the giant fish were wrenched out of that fountain and paraded around down there. The last time it had happened IU had won the National Championship in 1987, and one giant fish was still missing. The legend was that it was hanging in some frat somewhere. I never did see it. The fish were ripped from the fountain that night - luckily they were all recovered. The student body got several thorough lectures via the student newspaper regarding the cost of reposting the fish in the fountain, which was fun.

As an aside, I remember thinking all day on September 10, 2001 that I was forgetting someone's birthday, or not remembering an anniversary of sorts. Since the next day was 9/11 I obviously didn't put much effort into researching it or thinking of it much - everyone in our country had other things on the mind. Only now, looking up information to write this, did I realize that that day was the anniversary of the General being fired. The next day on September 11, 2000 he stood in front of a group of students and asked the student body not to hold a grudge against the kid that got him fired. And he said goodbye. I always thought Bobby was a really great guy - an old school coach that just didn't put up with anything. Yeah, he was a little fly-off-the-handle, but he was a genuine good old boy. Growing up in Indiana, the man was a legend. Hoosier country was Bobby's country, and we laughed that he ran the school more than Myles Brand (the president at the time) did.

I read today online that he is only one of two men that has both played on and coached a National Championship team. He is the winning-est coach in NCAA Division 1 history, and I think it's very sad that Indiana did NOTHING to celebrate that. I know that he didn't leave on the best terms, but he was a valued and revered coach for a very long time and I was very sorry to see that he was not recognized at all by the school.

All that said, I'll miss cheering on two teams in the Dance every year: one that plays for my school, and one that plays for my coach.