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Knight and Ohio State are a perfect fit


June 17, 2004
The state of Ohio has been in the college basketball headlines recently with Ohio State's dismissal of former coach Jim O'Brien and Cincinnati's suspension of coach Bob Huggins over a drunken-driving charge.

Bobby Knight
"Knight School" contestants will benefit from Knight's intensity, if they take it the right way.
Will there be more big news for the Buckeyes in the near future? Rick Boyages, O'Brien's former associate head coach, is serving as the interim coach at Ohio State. But some big names have been thrown in the rumor mill for O'Brien's permanent replacement. There are quality names like Xavier's Thad Matta, Marquette's Tom Crean and NC State's Herb Sendek.

Wait a minute! Here's a name that should be on Ohio State's radar screen -- Robert Montgomery Knight. It would be great to see Buckeyes athletic director Andy Geiger bring Knight back to his alma mater. The Buckeyes should dial him up before he puts his name on a contract extension down in Lubbock, Texas, where Knight is the head coach at Texas Tech.

If the Buckeyes are smart they'll welcome Knight back to the Big Ten with open arms, especially since Knight has such a wonderful history with Ohio State.

It would be a magical moment for the conference to have the General back in the fold, just 48 wins away from being Division I's all-time winningest coach! What better place to do it than at his alma mater?

It seems like a natural fit to me. Don't forget that Knight was a member of three Ohio State teams that went to the Final Four under coach Fred Taylor, including the 1960 national champion. And he has all kinds of familiarity with the Big Ten thanks to his successful days in Hoosier country, where he coached Indiana to three national championships.

I know critics have found fault in Knight over the years, particularly with his displays of emotion. But his integrity regarding academics and recruiting has never been an issue.

Knight would bring a positive approach to Ohio State, and his players would graduate and do things the right way. In addition to winning basketball games, Knight would own the state of Ohio in recruiting.

There would be a ton of excitement when the Hoosiers and Buckeyes squared off with Knight on the sidelines. What would the cost of a ticket be for their first meeting in Bloomington?

Get it done, AD Geiger. You understand collegiate athletics, and Knight brings what you want. He has integrity, he doesn't cheat, and the excitement generated would be incredible. The cash register would ring off the hook, and the idea of having a coach going for the all-time wins record would bring extra energy to the Buckeye program.

It's a natural ... Robert Montgomery Knight and Ohio State.

Dick Vitale coached the Detroit Pistons and the University of Detroit in the 1970s before broadcasting ESPN's first college basketball game in 1979 (he has been an ESPN analyst ever since). Send a question for Vitale for possible use on ESPNEWS.

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