Bobby Knight may not be coaching anymore, but he still knows how to drum up a controversy — that much was made clear this week, when he questioned why Kentucky head coach John Calipari still had a job on the sideline.
“We’ve gotten into this situation where integrity is really lacking, and that’s why I’m glad I’m not coaching,” Knight said at a fundraiser for the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame on Thursday. “We’ve got a coach at Kentucky who put two schools on probation and he’s still coaching. I really don’t understand that.”
Zing! Calipari’s rebuttal was more deferential, of course, as he insisted that he remains a “big fan” of Knight. But really, what else was he going to say? If you’re a college coach, you’re not going to start a fight with the NCAA’s all-time winningest coach.
One person who did venture into the tete-a-tete, albeit indirectly, was Mike Krzyzewski, who played for Knight at West Point. In his latest blog post, John Feinstein broached the dispute by arguing that Kentucky’s commitment to big-time athletics, regardless of its consequences, isn’t the exception, it’s the rule:
There isn’t a big time program in this country that doesn’t put winning ahead of all the alleged values the presidents espouse. Heck, forget big time—Penn just fired a coach in December.
The other day I asked Mike Krzyzewski this question: “You were 38-47 after three seasons at Duke and you had a perfect graduation record. If you had kept winning at that rate and graduating players at that rate where would you be today?”
His answer: “Not coaching at Duke.”
Let that serve as a history lesson for all of us.