June 18, 2004

Woody - The Sequel

Kyle Lamb of Bucknuts.com thinks that if the Buckeyes want to make some noise, they'll hire Bobby Knight to be their new basketball coach:

A very common desire amongst the program's followers seems to be more noise. More noise in the building during home games, more noise made nationally amongst the media, more noise on the national recruiting scene, and more noise from the coach itself - a nationally renowned figure in the college basketball world.

Is there anyone noisier than Bobby Knight?

No argument there. The idea of hiring Knight is certainly seductive enough for Buckeye fans. A winner...one of the all time greats...suitably rehabilitated at Texas Tech...coming home to Columbus to break the victory records of Adolph Rupp and Dean Smith. It would be a media circus. More from Lamb:

Suddenly, Ohio State would find themselves in front of a national television audience quite often. ...The game against Indiana would suddenly be a nationally recognized rivalry. It's quite possible a large portion of Assembly Hall would find itself secretly rooting for the Buckeyes, simply on behalf of Knight.

I think we need to take a pass on him. I don't want Ohio State to go down in history as the place where two legendary coaches get canned for clubbing 20-year old players upside the head with a forearm. Who would bet against Knight's career ending that way?

When A.D. Andy Geiger hired Jim O'Brien, he hired the anti-Knight. Distinguished, dapper, and quiet, all O'Brien did was share two Big Ten titles, win one Big Ten Tournament and go to one Final Four in his first four years. I wonder if Andy Geiger's idea of a perfect coach has really swung 180 degrees, or if he's just interested in the national spotlight that a reunion with Knight would bring to Ohio State and the Big Ten. Is it true that there's no such thing as bad publicity?

Increased media attention, or even increased victory totals, don't equate to an increase in prestige or class for the program. In light of disclosures of O'Brien's rule breaking, I guess the prestige level of the current program is debatable anyway. But I would think that hiring a guy who's likely to need a permission slip from the NCAA office and a Zero Tolerance clause in his OSU contract might not be the first step back toward respectability.

But if noise and cash are all Andy Geiger and Ohio State are looking for, they've got their guy:

If Bobby Knight is hired, perhaps the next f-bomb he drops will be drowned out by 20,000 screaming fans. Perhaps the next tossed chair, will have a 2005 Final Four logo on the back. And quite possibly the next time any of those things happen, it will be on national television as the head coach of the Ohio State Buckeyes. Now that would make some noise, wouldn't it?

I can see how hiring Knight would turn out to be great for the Ohio State program, and that's something I would relish. But for some reason, I hope it doesn't happen.

(Cross-posted at Sportsblog)

UPDATE 6/19: More from ESPN on Knight's "momentum" as a candidate for the OSU job...

Knight's coaching staff, a source said, is hearing that there is a groundswell behind Knight's being hired so that he can finish his career where it began as a player -- in Columbus. But the source said Ohio State athletic officials will not act until they have the necessary support by the university to hire Knight. This apparently is a developing process.

Posted by dan at June 18, 2004 4:06 PM