General madness


March 23, 2001|By CHRIS GRANT, Sports Editor

I wonder why they call this March Madness?

Is it because of the NCAA tournament games played across the country that take over most sports' fans television sets every weekend in the month? Could it be because of the buzzer-beating shots, last-second heroics and upsets you never saw coming?

Or maybe, just maybe, it's because of the rash of hirings and firings going on in the world of Division I coaches.

I'm going to say it's because of the latter because I have yet to fall under the spell of the NCAA tournament. I'm not sure what's wrong with me on that front. Perhaps this weekend will grab me, but I doubt it. There's just something about college basketball that no longer interests me.


However, as my interest in the sport wanes and I dream of a Red Sox summer, I have found myself a bit fascinated by all the activity on the NCAA coaching front.

Let's see, to recap, Mike Davis got to keep his job at Indiana (good move by the Hoosiers). Rick Pitino will take over at Louisville for the "retiring" Denny Crum (good move getting Pitino, sad to see Crum ousted). And Bobby Knight is going to Texas Tech.

I'm appalled that I had to write the last sentence and not for the reasons you might think. I know I kept my nose out of the whole Knight vs. IU mess this fall, but that's because I didn't feel like making any sort of statement.

If I had spoken I would have said the university had been out to get one of basketball's great coaches. I would have said that kid who claimed coach Knight assaulted him should have been tarred and feathered and run out of Bloomington. I would have said a lot more, but that's in the past.

Right here, right now (whatever happened to Jesus Jones, anyway?) I'm trying to deal with the fact that The General is going to coach in Lubbock. First let me say I'm glad he got a job. He deserves to coach for as long as he wants to coach. He is truly a great coach and whether you like him or not, his record speaks for itself and it says his players graduate and he does not break NCAA rules. Sure, maybe he throws the occasional chair, but I'm sure he's mellowed in his old age and chair-throwing is probably not much of an option any more.

Now back to Lubbock. I'd call it the armpit of Texas but I've been to Amarillo. And now Bobby Knight wants to call this town, home to a school full of tortilla-throwing losers, home? What could he ever have been thinking? More importantly, why does he want to coach at a school that is one of Texas A&M's rivals?

I've never been to Bloomington, but I'm sure it must be nicer than Lubbock. I also am sure the coach probably could have gotten a job in a much nicer locale, yet he chose Lubbock.

He said he liked the amount of basketball talent in Texas. He said he wanted to work with his friend (Texas Tech Athletic Director Gerald Myers). He said he was happy to be coaching again. I say I wonder if he has spent more than a day in that god-awful place? He probably has and I'm sure I'm overreacting.

I'll just go ahead and blame it on March Madness. Bobby Knight will be successful in Lubbock. Oh, I can guarantee that. He will probably turn the Red Raiders into a bunch of tortilla-throwing winners.

They will become a Big-12 power for years and I'm sure they will take yearly trips to College Station and hand Texas A&M a beating, which is good for the coach and bad for the Aggies.

Bobby Knight deserved better than what he got in Indiana and he deserves a second chance. I just wish he could have made his triumphant return to the world of coaching somewhere else, anywhere except Lubbock.

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