Bob Knight will skip IU Hall of Fame induction ceremony - 13 WTHR Indianapolis

Bob Knight will skip IU Hall of Fame induction ceremony

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Jennie Runevitch/Eyewitness News

Bloomington - When Indiana University honors its 2009 Hall of Fame class next week, inductee Bob Knight won't be there.

The winningest basketball coach in Division I history rejected the invitation in a letter to IU Athletic Director Fred Glass.

"I found out yesterday afternoon that Coach Knight has politely declined. He's really concerned that a media circus might ensue and he didn't want to detract from the other inductees, which I certainly appreciate and totally understand," Glass said. "We'll move forward with the induction and miss him of course, but focus on the accomplishments he's done for Indiana University."

Sports writer and Class of 2008 inductee Bob Hammel will represent Knight at the November 6th ceremony. But the coach's decision has left fans disappointed.

"It's to honor him. That's like you not showing up to your own birthday party," said IU senior Evan Baumgarten.

"I think it's a poor excuse," added IU senior Kevin Mendell. "I think he's still bitter about how he was, you know, how his career here ended."

It's been nearly ten years since the university fired Knight, so he doesn't have a personal connection to current students, but they say the ensuing drama and his legacy on the court still make a big impact on campus.

"It would be awesome if he came back and just gave the fans a little bit more Bob Knight in Indiana because I think that's what they want," Mendell said.

In the meantime, the university will focus on its future, while still honoring its past.

"I hope it is a first step or maybe a next step in healing Hoosier Nation, but that's not what this is all about. It's about doing the right thing, which is putting Bob Knight in the Hall of Fame," Glass said.

Even if Knight's not there to see it.

From IU:

Coaches Knight and Jerry Yeagley are both the winningest NCAA coaches in their respective sports. Knight (men's basketball, 1972-2000), won three national championships, and Yeagley (men's soccer, 1973-2004), captured six NCAA titles. Knight and Yeagley join former Hoosier standouts Steve Downing (men's basketball, 1971-73), Katrin Koch (women's track and field, 1989-92), Joe Norman (football, 1975-78), the late Mike Rabold (football, 1956-58), and Alan Somers (swimming, 1961-63) as honorees. In addition to the Hall of Fame Ceremony, each inductee will be recognized at halftime of the football game against Wisconsin at Memorial Stadium on November 7.

The Hall of Fame was established in 1982 by the Indiana University Varsity Club National Board of Directors in cooperation with Indiana University, the Department of Intercollegiate Athletics, the I Association, and the Indiana University Alumni Association.

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