Legendary basketball coach Bob Knight has long been one of the most controversial characters in college basketball and that's an understatement.
His tempestuous coaching style — throwing a chair onto the court during a basketball game, cursing at his team of student-athletes and the media alike and, on at least one occasion grabbing a player by the neck, somewhat eclipsed a remarkable winning record on the college level.
He holds the record for NCAA Division 1 basketball games victories, 902. And his teams won at Indiana University won three NCAA championships and 11 Big 10 Conference titles. But what we remember along with that basketball acumen is the boorish attitude.
But he seems to have mellowed some since he retired from basketball and is now providing color commentary on ESPN. The new Knight can even laugh at himself, as he did in this Volkswagen ad:
So maybe it shouldn't be a surprise that Trine University of Angola, Indiana, formerly Tri-State University, has chosen the new Knight to be its commencement speaker in May.
The private school's president said in statement:
"Coach Knight's respect for learning and his ability to instill character in his players make him an inspiring speaker for Trine University's 125th commencement," said Trine President Dr. Earl D. Brooks II. "He has not only lived an exemplary life, but has played a pivotal role in the development of many outstanding young people. His reflections on leading a life of impact and meaning will be well received by our degree candidates, their families, and our community, and we are pleased to host him on our campus."
Trine's decision to choose Knight as its commencement speaker and give him an honorary degree for tirades (that's a joke. He will actually get a public service honorary degree) assures that the school will get significantly more publicity than it would have if it had chosen the world's greatest expert on metal casting to speak. (The school website says it has a highly regarded cast-metals program.)
At the very least, video of Knight in a mortarboard and academic road should get some airtime on ESPN.