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Larry King Live
Why Has Texas Tech Hired Bobby Knight?Aired March 26, 2001 - 9:00 p.m. ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
LARRY KING, HOST: Tonight, the most controversial coach in college basketball is sporting new team colors, an exclusive hour with Bob Knight, now of Texas Tech University. We'll take your calls. And along with us, the president of Texas Tech, David Schmidly. They are next on LARRY KING LIVE.
This is a return visit for Coach Bob Knight. It's a new visit for David Schmidly, the president of Texas Tech. This has been the big story in basketball, next to the NCAA tournament this week. Bob Knight has returned, and he comes back via Lubbock Texas.
I was going say President Schmidly, Dr. Schmidly, but he likes Dave so we will say Dave.
DAVID SCHMIDLY, PRESIDENT, TEXAS TECH: Thank you.
KING: When brought -- I assume the athletic director came to you with the idea of hiring Bob Knight. That is the way it worked?
SCHMIDLY: That's the way it worked. Our athletic director has known Coach Knight for 30 years and has been affiliated with Texas Tech University almost a half century.
KING: What was your immediate reaction?
SCHMIDLY: My immediate reaction when he came to me was, I thought it was a good idea. I said, I wanted to go meet Coach Knight, so, I took off for Florida, had a couple of a good days with Coach and his wife Karen. We came back, talked to the faculty, talked to a lot of people about it. And then, after Athletic Director Myers came to me with the firm recommendation, and I carried it forward
KING: Did you have, David, a preconceived notion? You must have had some.
SCHMIDLY: I have been a Coach Knight fan since he has been in basketball. I have watched his teams play, and when you assume the presidency like I do, and I have only been at it 8 months, and, what I really want for our university is national excellence, in everything we do. Athletics and academics.
And the thought that we could get someone with his reputation, and his background, in the Hall of Fame, all the positive things he has done in basketball, yes, I was very interested in it. KING: How did you deal with the negatives?
KING: He brings a complex theme to the table.
SCHMIDLY: In some ways, yes, we spend a lot of time talking to people.
KING: Other people.
SCHMIDLY: Other people. We talked to a lot of people that have known Coach Knight for a long time. Talked to a lot of people that have not, that only read about him. And what I would say is a very consistent pattern there.
The people who had known Coach Knight for a long time raved about him, not only as a person, but as a coach. And of course, my experience with him in the four or five days I've had the chance to get to know him have been same way. I mean, I have really, really do enjoy being around Coach Knight. And, all of our conversations.
And then, my athletic director is a person I have a lot of confidence in. And when he made that firm recommendation, it was easy for me to go forward from there see.
KING: Did you talk to any official at Indiana?
SCHMIDLY: I did. I made one phone call, but they were not interested in talking in a great -- in a lot of detail.
KING: Didn't call you back?
SCHMIDLY: They did call me back. I spoke with the president of University of Indiana, and he just indicated he thought he best not say a lot.
KING: Did you have other offers, Bob?
ROBERT MONTGOMERY KNIGHT, TEXAS TECH UNIVERSITY BASKETBALL COACH: Well, yeah, I had offers to fish, to hunt, to play golf.
KING: No basketball.
KNIGHT: There was some basketball things involved. I had been contacted, I guess, starting in November, in various ways...
KING: Pro and college?
KNIGHT: Well, I think it's pretty much established that I just didn't have any interest in coaching in the pros. But I went up and worked for four days with the Pacers with Isaiah Thomas and I really enjoyed that. I mean, there is a kid there that played at Michigan and I -- named Jalen Rose that I thought, you know, kind of a pain in the neck sort of a kid. I'm telling you, the four days was worth it just to find out what a really good kid Jalen Rose was.
KING: Who -- did the AD of Texas Tech call you?
KING: That was the first call?
KING: Did he say, are you -- what happened?
KNIGHT: Well, I have known Gerald -- and Gerald is one of the really good coaches of my era in coaching, he has done an excellent job in administration, in other capacities at Texas Tech and now as the athletic director.
He called me to see if I would be interested in the job, when the job was going to be -- when they decided the job would be open, and I just said yes, I mean I knew what Gerald would be like working for, and he talked to me, a little bit about Dr. Schmidly and what he was like. And, John Montford, the chancellor at Tech, and I got to meet him also.
And the people were -- as I met the people, the more and more I met and talked to people the more and more I felt as I did when I first went to Indiana, this is a great place for me. I mean, I hope I'm good for them because this is a great place for me.
KING: What makes it great for Bobby?
KNIGHT: I think it's the people, Larry. I think it's the people that you are going to work with, that you are going to work for, and, the people that you can rely on for support, the people that are going to help.
KING: It didn't matter that the team wasn't doing well? That the program was down? That the girls team out-drew the boys team at the arena?
KNIGHT: Well, I love to watch the girls team play. The girls team is really well-coached. Marsha Sharp is really one of the outstanding coaches.
KING: The fact that the program was on the downer? Coaches fired, didn't bother you?
KNIGHT: When I went to Indiana, I think Indiana in the 10 years before I got there averaged a little over 6,000 people a game. I think they finished last, four of five times in those 10 years, and had only been in the first division once or twice, so...
KING: That doesn't bother you.
KNIGHT: Not a bit.
KING: Was part of this decision, frankly, economic? Bobby is going to fill the house. He's going to recruit, bring in players, going to get a lot of attention and people will go to see him.
SCHMIDLY: To certain extent, Larry, but not totally. We are an educational institution, and two of the things that really drew me to Coach knight was, one, the graduation rate of his players: 98 percent of the players that finish eligibility at Indiana graduated. Now, we have not been doing that well in the past.
The other thing was that none of his teams have ever been on NCAA probation, we have had a little problem with that.
KING: Never a day?
SCHMIDLY: Never a day, so those things were really positive, but, I'll tell you what really sold me: when I visited with Coach Knight and he told me. He said, you know, he said, what I really am is an educator. He said, I'm a teacher, and the basketball court and the basketball practice is where I do my teaching.
And that's what academic institutions are supposed to be about. We're education centers. Yes, we like to fill our arena, but that is not the main reason why we hired Coach Knight.
KING: With -- did you care about your place? You know, some people would you see you and you would getting angry. They would worry. They would say, does Bob Knight, does he like these guys? Does he care about them? Because he can be awfully rough on them. Let's be honest; you're rough.
KNIGHT: You know, I tell them when I coach them. If I came in to recruit your son, I would tell you, your wife, and your son, that I will be the most demanding coach your son can play for. And...
KING: You tell them that straight up?
KNIGHT: Right off the bat. That's the first thing I tell them. I say, I'm going to demand he goes to class, I'm going to demand that he plays hard, that he plays smart, that he behaves himself.
But what I try to do, I think, more than anything else, is to give a kid an advantage when he leaves basketball having played for me. I want him to have an advantage, so that if he is a kid interested in communications, and you interview him as a job as assistant producer or whatever for your program, you say, man, this kid -- there is something about this kid.
KING: You want him to have a life advantage.
KNIGHT: I want him to have an advantage over everybody that he is going to compete with once he gets out, and that is why I demand.
KING: A coach bring can bring that in?
KNIGHT: I really think so.
KING: Let me get a break. We'll be right back with Bob Knight and David Schmidly. We'll also include your phone calls. Don't go away.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KNIGHT: I think that when my tenure is done here, I hope that I will look back on it with just as the kind of memories that I had during the first 23 or 24 years I was at Indiana, because they are great memories and I think there will be a lot of great memories here.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: We will, by the way, be including your phone calls, and there we give you a shot of Texas Tech University in Lubbock, Texas.
We have heard so much about this school, now it's suddenly major league on the map, it's in the big 12. What about the school? My heart surgeon went to your school, Dr. Wayne Isom went to -- did my -- operated on my heart, so you must have premed courses?
SCHMIDLY: We do. We have a medical school, we have a law school. We're one of the few universities in the country that have all that on the same campus.
KING: Why is it Tech then? You think of...
SCHMIDLY: Well, that goes back to the history of it. It was started in 1925, it's a relatively young university, at a time when they were focusing on technology development in the state, that's where the name came from.
KING: So it's always -- anything -- and liberal arts courses...
SCHMIDLY: Oh, it has a full complement of liberal arts courses, humanities, music. It's a wonderful university, Larry. It's been steadily moving up the charts too, and coach Knight is only going to enhance that as he works with us.
KING: Where is Lubbock?
KNIGHT: It's in West Texas. It's a big -- like a kite-shaped area out there that goes up into Colorado and over into New Mexico. It's about a five-hour drive almost west-northwest of Dallas, sits in the middle of that area, the one major institution in that area.
KING: It's been described as remote.
KNIGHT: Yeah -- I -- yeah, maybe a little bit off the beaten path, but I'm telling you, it's a great community with great people. I mean, that impressed me as much as anything about it. I spent four, five days there, I really enjoyed the people. Great campus -- I took my son who is a Stanford graduate, and I took him to point on the campus -- no, my other son, the older one, Tim, and I said, Tim, what does this look like you to? Well, Tim looked and he kind of grinned, and he said, dad, this looks like a lot like Stanford, the buildings, the space -- it's really nice campus, clean as a pin.
The town has got really wide western streets, it is 15 minutes to a nice airport, where you can fly to Houston, Dallas, and anywhere in the world. I flew to Oakland the other day on a recruiting trip, and I flew from Lubbock to Albuquerque to Oakland in three hours.
So, the people, the places to eat -- I'm a great movie buff, like you are, and we are going to build a home that is about 10 minutes away from a movieplex that has about 24 shows in it, so I'm in great territory.
KING: So, you are home here?
KNIGHT: Oh yeah, perfect.
KING: Is it tough place to recruit kids to?
KNIGHT: I really don't think so, because as Dave said, it's a great institution, with every conceivable thing covered across the board, the whole almost a quadrangle that deals with engineering. I think that one of the two great places in the country to play -- there are two state-of-art arenas in college basketball, Texas Tech and North Carolina State -- it's as good a place to play, as there is...
KNIGHT: ... absolutely. And the crowd -- when I watched the girls play the other night, Marcia's team had a little over 12,000 people there, and I mean, it was a great crowd, lively, enthusiastic.
KING: Bobby, frankly, it has to be asked. Are you going to be able to change some of the aspects of you, of the personality that is Bob Knight, to accommodate this situation?
KNIGHT: I think that -- not only do I have to change some things, I mean, I think I have to eliminate a thing or two. Not just change it, but I mean, just get rid of it.
I mean, there are some things that have been, I think, a part of my persona or personality over the years, that you know, that I honestly believe have been grossly exaggerated, but I also think there are a couple things that I can coach and be better off without, and that's...
KNIGHT: Well, you know, I have -- many times I think -- my wife mentions this, got a great saying, Karen's favorite saying is, "If the horse is dead, get off." You know, I stay on those dead horses a long time. I mean, I have ridden that dead horse, Larry, until you know, everybody has bypassed me sometimes. That is one thing. I think that -- and another thing, sometimes quite frankly, I think that over the years, I have used profanity as a tool in practice. I can speak forever without being profane, but it has been a tool for me in practice, and I'm not so sure that that isn't one of those things that I can just eliminate, and do without.
KING: How about temper?
KNIGHT: Well, you know, temper -- I -- you know -- I've got a temper, but I think that, again...
KING: Is it controllable temper?
KNIGHT: I think so. I don't think I have ever been out of control.
KING: Is it sometimes deliberate anger?
KNIGHT: Well, somebody told me about -- I just did a commercial for Minute Maid that's been pretty well received, and...
KING: You poked fun at yourself?
KNIGHT: Yeah. Somebody said, you know, you are really good actor, and -- like the chair, I didn't hit anybody with the chair, pretty good aim, I thought.
KING: Wait a minute! Are you telling me you knew what you were doing there? Like Muhammad Ali knew what he was doing with the -- Holmes.
KNIGHT: If I didn't know where that chair was going, it would have hit somebody. Now...
KING: So, that was a device?
KNIGHT: Well, the guy...
KING: Come on, it was a device!
KNIGHT: No, I'm going to -- let me answer it this way. The guy said, boy, you ought to think about acting. And I looked at him I said, what do you think coaching is?
KING: On that note, we'll take a break, and we'll be back with new side of Bobby Knight and with David Schmidly, the president of Texas Tech. We'll be including your phone calls. Don't go away.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) KNIGHT: Let's just start from scratch and see where we go. And if you have a problem with me, you know, tell me about it before you write about it. If you have a problem with me -- you know, come see me, and sit down, you know, it is hard for me to put much value on criticism from somebody I have never met.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You can make -- make a lot of mistakes in this world, and still, if you are successful and you win, that is all that matters.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You know, he's not going to come in here first thing and start throwing chairs around, and he is not going to do that, and that is just the negative that people have focused on.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: We have learned, by the way, that Indiana -- after that, the chairs were tied together, right? Got to throw a whole thing -- nice to learn that from my friend David Israel, a little spy we have in the studios.
David, did some of what was called at Indiana unacceptable behavior -- and Bob says he's got to change some things -- cause you any kind of doubt?
SCHMIDLY: Oh, maybe a little pause, but not much doubt. I wasn't at Indiana, I didn't see those incidents, I -- you know, I only saw what was written about them, heard what was said about them.
KING: Also tapes.
SCHMIDLY: And tapes, but my focus has always been on the future. I am interested in my university.
KING: You have total faith Bob is going to be fine?
SCHMIDLY: I do. I really do. I believe that very much. And part of the reason is that my athletic director, who knows this guy well, and loves my university -- there isn't anybody on the planet that loves Texas Tech University more than Gerald Myers -- and Gerald Myers would have never made this recommendation if he thought there was a serious risk to it.
KING: You are recruiting already. How are you being greeted?
KNIGHT: Well, really well. I think that we have yet to talk to a prospective player that's available to play right now -- you know, you are familiar with the early signing date in November, so a lot of players have signed in November, but of those players that are still unsigned, that we have talked to, everyone has said that he would be very interested in talking to us about coming to Tech. So I have been really, really pleased with that.
KING: You're recruiting outside of the state, too?
KNIGHT: Well, both, and I think at this point in time, we don't have the kind of pool that we would like to have. So if we have -- if we have Tech here, we are just kind of like a mushrooming cloud, where we start from Tech and we move out to West Texas and then across the state of Texas, and then to wherever we have go to get players.
KING: This kids are going to have to go to class?
KNIGHT: Every day.
KING: Sometimes you get an image. You hear about a school we don't know too well: Texas Tech (UNINTELLIGIBLE). Are there strong academic requirements for these kids?
SCHMIDLY: Absolutely. Every one of them, and that is one of the things we like most about Coach Knight, his reputation for insisting that his students -- his players are student-athletes.
KING: You give money to the school, too?
KNIGHT: I will.
KING: You are a contributor.
KNIGHT: I try to be. I think that the school has provided me with an opportunity whether, it was Indiana or West Point or Texas Tech, and I think they deserve to have me support them just the way that they have supported me.
KING: There's one thing I want to take care of and get it off the deck. Mike Lupica -- I know he's not your biggest fan -- the sports writer in New York, on ESPN "Sports Reporters" last Sunday, said he didn't think you were ever asked -- I thought I did ask it when you were here but didn't remember -- why you reached for that kid's throat.
KNIGHT: You know, I'm not even sure that I know why, Larry. I mean, I'm walking -- you see, in that thing that takes place.
KING: That's the last time we'll show it. We've got to show it.
KNIGHT: Well, but in that thing that takes place, you can't tell where my hand is right now. You can look at that and my hand is somewhere in the upper part of the body. Nobody really pays any attention to it. We kept right on with practice.
There are three things that are said about that. Number one, that I had to be pulled off by two assistant coaches. All right? You just see that that absolutely was not true.
Number two, that I choked the kid. You are going to choke somebody, you better do it with both hands. That is how you choke somebody. I have a hand out, and if you if you look at that carefully, I'm walking toward the kid with my hand out. Now, I really don't know what I said to the kid.
KING: Don't remember the incident?
KNIGHT: No, I don't. I don't remember it at all. The third thing that was said was, that I had run the president out of practice at some point which was totally untrue. So, I didn't choke him, nobody pulled me off the kid, I didn't run the kid out of practice.
KING: Were you used to touching your players? Are you a toucher?
KNIGHT: What I have a always done is -- I will take a player, like, if Dave was playing for me, I might take him by the arm and say Dave, you've got to turn on a blockout. You've got to get the blockout, you are out of position, you've got to be over here. I really can't say.
KING: You never choked anyone to your knowledge.
KNIGHT: Absolutely never.
KING: Did you look at that film?
SCHMIDLY: No, I did not.
KING: Did not.
SCHMIDLY: I did not.
KING: Why not?
SCHMIDLY: Well, I had heard Coach Knight's explanation of it. I accepted that. I had heard my athletic director's explanation of it.
KING: You accepted it. What do you make of Indiana resigning your replacement?
KNIGHT: I think that is totally up to Indiana. That is their job.
KING: You were angry at him for those stories that you didn't like?
KNIGHT: No. Well, there were some things that I think that could have been done, mostly, with my son Pat. You see, Pat was the guy responsible for him even having a chance to come to Indiana. Yeah, Pat talked to me about him, and another guy coming to Indiana, and really, pushed both of them to be hired when I had some vacancies, and I did. And Pat wasn't even on the staff then. So when all of this thing came about, neither one of them ever even contacted Pat. Indiana has refused to pay Pat the salary that they owe him which probably will wind up in our having to sue Indiana.
KING: ...against the coach? Do you think he should have contacted him?
KNIGHT: I think that -- I think I would have. I mean, I think I would have said, you know, is there anything we can do for you? Can we help you? I mean, you know, I have a chance here because you helped me get it and I really appreciate that. Pat has had no contact from these people at all.
KING: Are you suing?
KNIGHT: That was one of those things, Larry.
KING: Let me get a break and you can explain that and take some calls.
KNIGHT: OK. All right.
KING: We are here with David Schmidly and Bob Knight, taking your calls in a while. This is LARRY KING LIVE. Don't go away.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KNIGHT: I think we all have things that we would like to take back, that we did or we said, we would like to improve upon things. If I'm different than anybody else in that regard, then I kind of have had a misplaced understanding of people during my lifetime.
QUESTION: Just a quick follow-up.
KNIGHT: Let's move on. Let's...
QUESTION: If I could, just follow up because people said things that I think...
KNIGHT: Wait a minute, now, how many of us want to hear a follow-up from this guy?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Back with more shots of Texas Tech University. Bobby Knight, by the way, added something during the break that that tape was your tape, right?
KING: You could have destroyed it.
KNIGHT: Any time.
KING: You looked at that tape.
KNIGHT: I looked at it that afternoon of practice and in the morning.
KING: You didn't think anything of it then?
KING: OK. It's reported that your lawyer Russell Yates sent a letter to Indiana University saying you intend to sue for an excess of $7 million for damages to your credibility.
KNIGHT: Well, I'm sitting with Karen my wife, in New York, about two weeks ago, and I see this thing go across ESPN "Knight Sues Indiana for Libel and Slander."
I turned to Karen and said, where in the world does that come from? Well, I talked to Russ Yates who is a very good friend and an outstanding lawyer in Denver, who is kind of handling the settlement of this thing -- not kind of -- but he was handling the settlement of this for me.
At Indiana, there is a law that states that within a six-month period, you must file a letter, stating that if a settlement cannot be reached, you intend to file suit. And if you don't do it within six months you lose the right to sue. All this letter was, and I didn't even know that Russ...
KING: It's a perfunctory letter.
KNIGHT: Yes. It's a prerequisite...
KING: Do you expect to settle?
KNIGHT: Well, I don't know. They have made no real move to settle...
KING: He -- is this settlement of a pending suit about damages or...
KNIGHT: No. I think that they just need to settle what my contract calls for.
KING: They owe you money. We're not speaking of slander, then.
KNIGHT: No. What he had to do, Larry, was list every conceivable thing that a suit could be filed for. And I'm sure that 75 percent of it didn't even pertain to any suit that we would...
KING: Because it's a state school. You have such rulings? You are a private school.
SCHMIDLY: No, a state, too. I don't know. I don't think we have those same rulings. The state of Texas.
KNIGHT: This is a state law. It would pertain to anything -- any lawsuit in Indiana as I understand it, and Russ just filed this letter as a legal prerequisite without even telling me he was going to file it.
KING: Do you think he will settle?
KNIGHT: I don't know. That is up to them, I mean.
KING: Does it bother you he may be in a lawsuit coaching for you?
SCHMIDLY: No, not as long as it doesn't involve Texas Tech and the Big 12 Conference. It is between Coach and his former employer, not Texas Tech.
KING: We'll take a break. When we come back, your phone calls for David Schmidly, the president of Texas Tech University, and Bob Knight, the new head basketball coach at the Red Raiders.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, MARCH 1994)
KNIGHT: When my time on earth is gone, and my activities here are passed, I want they bury me upside down, and my critics can kiss my ass!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Is that one of your great moments, Bob?
KNIGHT: I'm not sure, that may be one we ought to try and take back, if we could.
KING: Washington, D.C., for Bobby Knight and David Schmidly, hello.
CALLER: Hi, I'm a Tech grad, and it will be interesting to see what happens next fall on the courts, but I do have one quick question. What kind of precautions are being implemented to guard against the behavior we did see in Indiana, and is the university prepared to handle any kind of backlash?
KING: Do you fear trouble or?
SCHMIDLY: No we don't, but we have a code of conduct at the university. We have policies. It is written into all of our coaching contracts, and so, coach Knight will be treated like any other employee on our campus, like I'm treated.
If we do anything that brings harm to a student or employee or to our institution, then that's grounds for appropriate action, and action will be taken. But coach Knight is not going to be different than any other employee on our campus, and will be subject to the same things that all of us are.
KING: Any comment about that?
KNIGHT: No, I'm perfectly comfortable with that. I mean, I think that one of the great problems that I had at Indiana was not really being talked to. I mean, they said, well we gave him a last chance. Well, I'm not sure where the first chance was.
If you call me in and say, "All right, we don't want this, we don't want that, we want" -- then if from that point on, I don't do it, then that's my fault, and that will certainly be the case at Tech.
I mean I -- I think, Larry, that when you go back over my career, and the people that I have worked with, and that have played for me, and that I have worked under, I think you will find that there is a really almost across the board appreciation of having had the chance to work or play with -- for me over the years, and I'm really proud of that.
So, I think I have -- I'm like you are or anybody else is, I'm a guy with faults, but I think I have been pretty good for a lot of people over a lot of years.
KING: How did you react when people said that you weren't aware of those faults? You didn't seem to admit to -- as all of us have problems?
KNIGHT: If Quinn Buckner would have come in and talked to me about it, or if Kent Benson would have or if Calbert Cheaney would have...
KING: These are former great players.
KNIGHT: ... or if any of the players that I have had would have come in and said, coach, I think you would be better off if you did this, coach, you would do this -- and the critics that I have, almost across the board, Larry, are people that I don't know, that I wouldn't know if they walked in the door right now, people that have never sat down and talked to me, people that have made up their minds because of something they have read or something that they have heard, or something that I have said.
And I would be the first to admit that probably, in a lot of press conferences over the time that I have been in coaching, indulging my own sense of humor at press conferences has not been greatly to my benefit.
KING: No, General Patton, it has not. Are you -- do you want him to improve with the media? Is that is important to you?
SCHMIDLY: Well, yes. We want coach Knight to -- we think what this is for coach Knight is a fresh start. And I think it is a fresh start for our basketball program. And it's also a great opportunity for him -- he and I have talked about this for a fresh start with the media, and the media in our local area are good people, I think they are going to be very receptive to coach Knight. KING: You're going to have national press attack him, you realize that, you realize that?
SCHMIDLY: We're going to have national press, we do, and welcome that, too. And coach Knight has talked about change, he has talked about doing some things differently with regard to the press and his interactions, but, you know, a lot of that is personal, Larry, how you interact with the press. And I'm not going to define specific rules -- that is really up to the coach.
KING: Do you generally dislike the media?
KNIGHT: Well, I think, Larry, my problem always with the media is guys writing something, or saying something, or jumping to conclusions without ever talking to you, or without ever asking you, or...
KING: Would you be willing to talk, though, had they called?
KNIGHT: Sure, I have talked to people. I mean, if I went through here, and -- well, I'll give an example, there is a writer in Cincinnati named Paul Dougherty (ph), and he came to an affair where I spoke yesterday on -- just outside of Cincinnati, and he asked me a question about the media.
Now, Paul is not a guy that I have been real close to. He is a guy that I have done some things with -- and I said, let me ask you this question. I said, of all the people that you have dealt with in sports, where would I be on the list of cooperation? And he looked at me and he said, you would be right at the top.
And I think that is probably generally true of people that have taken the time to come talk to me, and people that I have gotten to know.
KING: So, you think you have been bum-rapped?
KNIGHT: Well, I think that -- I think that everybody is, on occasion. I have read a thing or two about you where people have written something that they didn't...
KING: Keep it up, Knight!
KNIGHT: ... that they didn't really care about...
KNIGHT: ... but I know you, and I know you -- and I can look at that and say, hey, this is really a good guy, this is a lot of garbage here.
KING: Bloomington, Indiana, hello.
CALLER: Hi there.
KING: Hi. CALLER: Coach Knight, I was wondering if any of the IU players wanted to come and play for you instead of coach Davis, would you take open arms to them?
KNIGHT: Well, what I -- what I got yesterday was a call from Buckner, and Buckner would like to get back into playing again. Buckner would like to come...
KING: He's ineligible!
KNIGHT: Well, he'd like to come to Tech under an assumed name, but I told him he had to lose 30 pounds -- well, he's got to lose 30 pounds to do so.
KING: What if an Indiana player wanted to...
KNIGHT: I think that -- I would have to cross that bridge when and if it ever happened.
KING: Depending on who it is...
KNIGHT: Well, who, what are...
KNIGHT: What our situation -- yeah, I have to sit out -- anybody does, any transfer would. I think I would have to just see what our situation was at that time, what our needs were.
I think it is really important, Larry, that in recruiting, that when I recruit you to play for me that you really have a good chance to play. That when you come in, it is not just filling a spot, it is not just getting you, it is that we have a definite need for a player of your ability.
KNIGHT: Yes, exactly.
KING: We'll be back with Bob Knight and David Schmidly on this edition of LARRY KING LIVE, don't go away.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KNIGHT: Who asked that question?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I did.
KNIGHT: Was he sitting beside me?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That is what I have been told, I may have been incorrect.
KNIGHT: Then why doesn't he come speak to me too if it's such a (EXPLETIVE DELETED) offense? Some of you people ought to go find another way to live. (END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: That was the greeting Bob Knight got as he entered the gymnasium at -- what did that feel like?
KNIGHT: That was really neat. I mean, I really appreciated the fact that the fans and particularly the students were really involved in the anticipation of what we were going to try to do.
KING: Did any faculty protest?
KING: ...signed a petition...
SCHMIDLY: There was about 100 that signed a petition, and I met with faculty, we had a very positive meeting, I answered all their questions, and, I think all of the faculty are of the mind that we are going to give Coach Knight a chance, a fresh start, they are excited about working with him, and, I think faculty of Texas Tech are really good people, and, they are going to be there to support us.
KING: How many years is the contract?
SCHMIDLY: Five years.
KING: Are you expecting big things that first year? It is a very hard transition, isn't it?
SCHMIDLY: Well it is, and you know we have been on probation; we have had limited scholarships, we are just coming off that. We are getting a late start in recruiting and I think we are going to be realistic, but we...
KNIGHT: He wants to win.
SCHMIDLY: That is the right.
KNIGHT: I mean...
KING: So do you.
KNIGHT: I do too, he is going to expect some good things and I hope we can get them.
KING: Are you predicting you're going to bring a winning team first year?
KNIGHT: Well, I don't know. I've never predicted anything. All I have ever said is, that we will do the very best we can.
KING: You played ball for Texas Tech, right?
SCHMIDLY: I did, when I was a freshman in 1962. KING: By the way, I'm reminded that this is the 25th anniversary of the last unbeaten team in college basketball: the 1976 Indiana Hoosiers, who did not celebrate! Because of what it meant celebrating with you.
KNIGHT: Well, I think there is a little feeling with the administration at Indiana that they could kind of like to wipe out my 29 years there, but I think that was...
KING: Is it impossible to go unbeaten now?
KNIGHT: Well, I don't know.
KING: Not impossible; but improbable?
KING: It was tough then. It was a really hard then. I mean, we had a couple of really close calls, and, we had kids -- and I told our players, Larry. The interesting thing about that season was I met with them a day before practice started, and I told them this, we had the best team in the country the year before, Scott May, one of the great players in the country got hurt and couldn't play in the NCAA Tournament. And so, we missed out on an opportunity to win it then.
But I told him the day before practice the next season, this is kind of I think unusual, for me, but I said, the only thing that equates to total fulfillment for this team, is to go undefeated this year. There is no reason for us to lose game this year.
KING: You said that?
KNIGHT: The day before practice started. I got the entire team together, and, we went -- weren't really as good offensively as we were the year before.
KING: Why did you say that?
KNIGHT: We lost a great player in Steve Green, but we were tough, and Steve Alford, a really good guard we had and a couple other kids but...
KING: The coach of Iowa.
KNIGHT: No, Steve Alford is a doctor now. Steve Alford played later for us. But I felt we could be really good defensively: Buckner and Wilkerson were the best pair of defensive guards I have ever seen play on a college basketball team...
KING: You really in your mind thought that...
KNIGHT: I told them and I felt that. I said, total fulfillment for this team is an undefeated national championship.
KING: Fort Myers, Florida, hello. Are you there?
KING: Go ahead.
CALLER: I know Coach Knight put a lot of effort in recruiting players at IU and he cared about his players personally. I want to know if he has had any communications with any of them -- any of those boys this year.
KING: Good question. Since you left the school, have you talked...
KNIGHT: Oh, yeah. I've talked to a lot of them and they have said a lot of things. I think the thing that might have hit me the most was Alan Henderson being interviewed. Henderson was one of our great players, and, being interviewed, and he talks -- answers questions and talks about one thing and another, but the concluding line in the interview -- the guy writes it this way: Alan lowered his vice a little bit and his last statement was, "that is my guy."
KING: I know you don't -- you are night crazy -- do you think they made a wise move hiring Davis?
KNIGHT: Oh, I don't know. I didn't see him enough, I didn't see him enough to...
KING: Did you see the team play?
KNIGHT: I really didn't, no.
KNIGHT: I really didn't.
KING: Anderson, South Carolina, hello.
CALLER: Hello, there, good evening, gentlemen.
Coach Knight, thanks for the compliment for NC State. What I was going to -- in the media recently, we have seen a lot of examples of how young people are paying high prices and being held to adult standards for their actions. I'm wondering, as you are a role model, I'm interested in your opinions about how, although you did paid a heavy price, why your punishment was seen to be less harsh than others, particularly the children who look up to you.
KNIGHT: Well, I don't think that there is anything that I have done that would require any kind of legal punishment. I don't know whether that is what you are talking about or not. But, I think that the circumstances involving any situation are such that I think you have to know exactly what has taken place, you have to be acquainted with circumstances, before you can ever make judgments on things.
KING: We'll be right back with more of Bob Knight and David Schmidly on this edition of LARRY KING LIVE. Don't go away.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) KNIGHT: I said when I came here, that if I had taken a year off, and went around the country, to find a place where I could coach the most ideally suited place to me I could not have come up with a better place than Indiana University.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Do you miss coaching?
KNIGHT: Oh, yeah. I mean, I -- I miss it because that is all I have ever done and I'm not so sure it isn't all I can do either, so I miss it.
KING: Lubbock, Texas, hello.
CALLER: My question is for Coach Knight. Coach Knight, we get to hear say a lot of things -- positive things about our community, and our school. And I'm wondering if there is any reservations you have, or downsides towards coming to Tech that you see?
KING: None at all?
KNIGHT: I really don't see any downside at all to going to Texas Tech. I mean, if it is really windy, I don't have to play golf on those days.
KING: Is there a lot of wind in Lubbock?
KNIGHT: It gets windy. All the plain states are windy, but I just -- have really, really thought, just as I said, and I think that was a good choice of things about Indiana. And I felt that way when I went there. And I don't think that I could have found through diligent search a better place, or a place that I think would be more ideally suited to me than Texas Tech will be.
KING: Williamsburg, Virginia, hello.
CALLER: Hello, Larry.
CALLER: My question for coach Knight is, approximately how long or does he a time line about how long it will take to turn around the Texas Tech program and get it back to the NCAA tournament?
KNIGHT: Well, that's something that I really can't answer, I think...
KING: You don't have a time line?
KNIGHT: Well, I haven't seen the kids that are coming back. We've got six or seven kids coming back, I haven't seen them work yet. The first time that I'll have a chance to work with them is Wednesday afternoon, and then I will get a chance to see just what I think they can do. We're really right in the midst of recruiting, and so we get all those kids together...
KING: They can't practice now, though?
KNIGHT: No we can, pre-season -- post-season practice and pre- season practice -- we can work with four kids at a time, two hours a week.
KING: OK, before we take a break and then go back with our remaining portion: Michigan State -- well, you're a fan too, everyone is -- Michigan State-Arizona?
KNIGHT: Well, I love Tom Izzo. Let me just say a word about the job Izzo did this year. He loses Granger, Cleaves, who I dearly love as a player, and Peterson, and that is three big losses from the team that won the NCAA last year, and I'm not sure I have seen a coach bring a team back a second consecutive year with that kind of loss. And so, it's a great, great accomplishment for him.
KING: And a win?
KNIGHT: Well, I don't know, you know. I root for him because I really like him. Arizona has played very well in the latter two- thirds of this season. Duke, I think, played the best basketball of anybody in the -- won the best games. It has played with the greatest consistency through the first four games of the tournament.
But Maryland -- the three Maryland-Duke games have been very, very hotly contested games, and if I think the difference there is Duke being able to contain Maryland -- and with their defense. Now, that might be the edge that Duke has.
KING: Are you picking Duke?
KNIGHT: Well, you know...
KING: Come on, Bobby!
KNIGHT: Well, Mike played for me, so I've got a real emotional attachment to a kid that played for me that is coaching, and I think Mike Kryzewski has done the best job of anybody in college coaching in any sport in the last 10 years.
KING: Who are you picking, David?
SCHMIDLY: I like Michigan State, and I like Maryland. KING: In the finals.
SCHMIDLY: And I think Michigan State will repeat.
KING: And you like Duke and...
KNIGHT: Well, I think that...
KING: Evasive Bobby Knight!
KNIGHT: That's exactly right. I haven't been real good at picking this, but Duke is very good, and I think the final game will probably boil down to Duke-Arizona.
KING: We'll be back with our remaining moments with Bob Knight and David Schmidly right after this.
KING: Want to get a couple of quick calls in, but if you thought Bob was evasive, the NCAA got mad because you made predictions for -- what -- sandbox.com or something?
KNIGHT: Yeah, we've predicted the brackets all the way through, and the NCAA took me to task for that. But while doing that -- just as you asked me, what did I think, probably no coach interviewed in the month of March is not asked what he thinks, plus the fact that the NCAA with CBS does the finals, and CBS Sports Line plays a game exactly like we do, so that is why sometimes people get a little bit irritated with the NCAA.
KING: Terre Haute, Indiana, quickly, hello.
CALLER: Hi, Larry. My question for coach Knight is, did you watch any IU games this past season?
KNIGHT: I saw a game here and there, just like I saw a lot of teams play. I really didn't see a whole lot of basketball in any continuous way.
KING: Did you root for them?
KNIGHT: Oh, sure, I got some great kids there, I mean...
KING: Your kids?
KNIGHT: There is no kid that I have ever coached that I enjoyed more watching him work than Kirk Haston -- I think Kirk Haston has taken himself right to the next level with the way he's worked.
KING: Bloomington, Indiana, last call, hello.
CALLER: Hi, Larry. My question is for coach Knight. Coach Knight, how it would feel to you when IU plays Tech in two years?
KING: Do they play? SCHMIDLY: It's on the schedule.
KNIGHT: I don't know that...
KING: Do they play, caller?
CALLER: Yes, they do.
CALLER: 2002 season.
CALLER: In Bloomington, I think it's the Classic.
KNIGHT: Well, you have a little more knowledge of the schedule than I do.
KING: Well, what do you think of that?
KNIGHT: Oh, I don't know. I mean, we have played...
KING: Come on!
KNIGHT: No, I mean, we have never hesitated to play anybody, so...
KING: I know, but you're going to be a little emotional, you're going to go to Bloomington...
KNIGHT: I'm going to be a little bit emotional toward Texas Tech. I mean, I'll be kind of rooting for Texas Tech to win wherever we play. And you better be, too!
KING: For you, yeah! David, you didn't tell him that he is playing IU?
SCHMIDLY: No, we've saved that for a later day.
KING: Does that shock you a little?
KNIGHT: Not at all, because I'm the one that made the arrangements a couple of years ago.
KING: Oh, so you were at IU when they -- is this a new Bob Knight, a different Bob Knight?
KNIGHT: Well, I think that -- I would like to think that tomorrow I will be a little bit different than I am today. And I like to think that next day I'm a little bit different, and I would hate to think that I remain the same from day-to-day, and that would include improving, that would include being a little bit better each day. I hope I can do that.
KING: When you do move there? KNIGHT: Well, we've already moved. We moved last weekend in our hearts, and we have been kind of homeless for a while, kind of nomadic, meandering around.
KING: New house?
KNIGHT: We're going to build there, and we're really looking forward to living there.
KING: Pleasure meeting you, Dave.
SCHMIDLY: My pleasure, Larry, I really enjoyed it. Thank you.
KING: David Schmidly, Bob, good luck.
KNIGHT: Thank you, Larry.
KING: Bob Knight, the new basketball coach of Texas Tech, and David Schmidly, president of Texas Tech University.
Tuesday night, tomorrow, she knew the queen of Camelot better than almost anybody. An interview with Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis' sister Lee Radziwill.
By the way, you can log on to cnn.com/larryking to send us your questions early. It should be a great hour.
Stay tuned for "CNN TONIGHT," it's next. Good night.
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