Knight: 'Hipsher would do a great job'
Is there a better reference a college basketball resume can have than Bob Knight? Well, how about a public endorsement from the coaching legend?
I got a call back from Florida Atlantic athletic director Craig Angelos on Monday morning, and yes, he was the "Craig" who called Knight during a speaking engagement the coach had back in Bloomington, Indiana. Knight not only took the call -- in the middle of a $45-a-head speech -- but sang the praises of USF assistant coach Dan Hipsher, a longtime friend and colleague who is in the mix for the head coaching job at FAU.
There's great video from the Knight speech at heraldtimesonline.com, though you'll have to set up an account to be able to watch it. The Hipsher part is maybe five minutes into the clip.
"Hire Dan Hipsher," Knight says, in full earshot of his microphone. He's willing to walk away from the mike for more than two minutes, talking about Hipsher, and you can hear him say "In your situation, Hipsher would do a great job for you." Knight later holds the phone up to the crowd, which cheers for Angelos, either in support of Hipsher or just to verify that Knight is indeed putting 1,900 people on hold for the telephone call.
Hipsher's known the Knight family a long time and gave Pat Knight his first college coaching job when he was at Akron. As if Knight's recommendation weren't enough, Hipsher also has Rick Majerus as a reference, and you can hear Knight joking about it, telling Angelos "Rick Majerus has a lot of (b.s.)" ... in front of 1,900 people.
Angelos is interested in Hipsher, but said he's made similar calls -- albeit not all to 800-win coaches -- on 10 or more candidates. He'll bring four or five finalists to campus in the next week or so and hopes to have a coach in place in the next 10 days. Asked about the power of a Knight endorsement, Angelos said "No question, it was big." He said Knight had called him, and when Angelos returned the call, Knight explained he was speaking to a group of 1,900 people in Indiana.
"Of course, I said 'I'm sorry, Coach, I can call you back,' and he says 'No, no, I'll put you on speakerphone," Angelos said. "He was entertaining the crowd in the background the whole time."
We'll keep you posted on Hipsher and the FAU opening, as well as USF's recruiting efforts ...
-- One more note: We told you a few weeks back that USF was stepping back in its recruitment of forward Juan Pattillo of College of Southern Idaho, but just for a final update, Pattillo signed with Oklahoma last week. I write this mostly so I can work in silly "CSI basketball" jokes, like "Hey, Coach Grissom, why does Caruso have to play hoops with his sunglasses on?"