Firing coach strikes a blow for civility

Interscholastic athletics on Kaua’i-some of the purest sports-for-fun anywhere

to be found-is a long way from Indiana University men’s basketball in

Bloomington, Ind., both in scope and geography. Then again, there is a

connection. The adult leaders of the respective programs are role models, and

thank goodness there isn’t one here like ex-Indiana coach Bob

Knight.

“Newly fired” are two that have a nice ring to them, but many of

the best words to describe Knight can’t be printed in a family newspaper or

uttered in polite conversation. Suffice to say he is brutish, boorish and

…well, anyone who’s heard news reports about his antics can fill in the

remaining blanks.

In plain public view at his team’s games and in team

practices and other less public settings, Knight has offended the standards of

sportsmanship and decency with temper tantrums and borderline physical

aggression. Growing public resentment of his actions landed him earlier this

year in a form of no-tolerance probation meted out by his university’s highest

officials. It was a brilliant move by them at the time: Let Knight-who has his

staunch supporters, including University of Hawai’i coach Riley Wallace-bozo

himself out of a once glorified career with an additional act of stupidity,

rather than fire him and risk retribution from fans who believed-as many still

do-that he deserves chance after chance.

Last week, he ran out of chances.

A student claimed Knight grabbed him and cursed him for reportedly not showing

the coach proper respect in a casual encounter on the Indiana campus. An

investigation by the university concluded Knight violated his administrative

probation. For that, past transgressions and other more recent alleged

exhibitions of his arrogance, Knight was canned Sunday.

The world’s sports

community will be a better place without Knight occupying a prominent place in

it. There are other adult authority figures in athletics who behave like

Knight. Perhaps now they will realize that even an icon like him (in their

eyes) is not above society’s rules of civility.

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