Former IU coach Bob Knight on administration that fired him: ‘I hope they’re all dead’

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26 Jan 1994: Indiana Hoosiers head coach Bob Knight looks on during a game against the Minnesota Golden Gophers. Indiana won the game, 78-66. (Mandatory Credit: Gary Mook/Allsport)

If Indiana University basketball fans were hoping they’d one day welcome “The General” back to Assembly Hall, they’d better just forget about it.

In an interview on “The Dan Patrick Show” Friday morning, iconic former IU basketball coach Bob Knight said he has no interest in going back to the university. He had harsh words for the administration responsible for his dismissal from the university, saying he hoped “they’re all dead.”

The comment was part of an exchange with host Dan Patrick, who asked why fans want Knight back at Assembly Hall so badly. It started out well enough, with Knight saying he enjoyed the fans at IU and will think about how great the fanbase is for the rest of his life.

“Well, I think I’ve always really enjoyed the fans, and I always will,” Knight said. “On my dying day, I will think about how great the fans at Indiana were.”

But Knight quickly set his sights on the IU administration that fired him.

“And as far as the hierarchy at Indiana University at that time, I have absolutely no respect whatsoever for those people. With that in mind, I have no interest in ever going back to that university.”

Patrick followed up, “Most of those people… aren’t those people all out of there, coach?”

“I hope they’re all dead,” Knight replied.

“Some of them are,” Patrick pointed out, likely a reference to former IU president Myles Brand, who died from cancer in 2009.

“Well, I hope the rest of them go,” Knight said.

Patrick said he’d like to see Knight back at Assembly Hall to provide some closure one day.

“Well, hope rides eternal,” Knight said.

Knight also talked about the undefeated 1976 Indiana Hoosiers. The team is the subject of a documentary airing on Showtime Friday night. Knight said the ’76 Hoosiers were a special team and believed he’d “kind of screwed things up” when they failed to finish undefeated in the previous season.

“Scott May had broken his wrist, and I had to move things around a little bit. We ended up losing a game, and part of it was because I split (Quinn) Buckner and (Bobby) Wilkerson up, they were the best pair of guards that ever played the game in college, and I’ve always said if I had one thing to do over again I wouldn’t have split that up,” Knight said of the ’75 team.

Knight vowed to do better the next season, telling his players from day one that their goal was an undefeated season.

“Practice started on a Saturday like it always did, the day before practice started that there was only one thing that would be the thing that they could always be proud of and that was to go undefeated for the entire season,” Knight said.

“Not winning the Big Ten or winning the national championship or anything, but to go completely undefeated for the season. I told them that the day before practice started. On Friday afternoon, we met in the locker room and I said this is the goal that you people should get to because there may be no better that ever does it, but you are capable of doing it. And they wound up doing it.”

“Perfect in ‘76” airs at 9 p.m. Friday on Showtime. John Mellencamp narrates the documentary, which includes interviews with Knight and several players as it tracks the 32-0 perfect season.

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