Friends expect him to get several top offers.
To some of Bob Knight's friends, the question isn't whether he'll coach again. The question is what color sweater he'll wear on the sideline.
Knight's 29-year reign at Indiana University ended in his dismissal Sunday. But friends predicted that Knight's Hall of Fame career will resume within a year and that he will break Dean Smith's major-college career victory record of 879 at North Carolina. Knight has 763 wins.
"I'll bet you there will be offers at some of the biggest schools in the country next year that want him," said Knight's mentor, Pete Newell, a retired Hall of Fame coach. "Knowing Bobby, he's not going to go out this way. Indiana thinks they're ruining a career in coaching. I think they're wrong."
On the day IU president Myles Brand fired Knight for repeatedly violating a "zero-tolerance" code of conduct, speculation centered on two fronts. One was Knight's successor. The other was Knight's future.
IU announced that it would name an interim coach and that athletic director Clarence Doninger would form a committee to search for a permanent successor. There were rumblings that some IU players were considering transferring, but Brand said he hoped they would give the next coach a chance. He met with the team Saturday.
There was speculation IU would tap Quinn Buckner, who played for the Hoosiers' unbeaten 1976 national champions and coached the NBA's Dallas Mavericks. But former Notre Dame coach Digger Phelps, another Knight friend, said Buckner "would never even think about it unless Knight said, "You be the guy.' Quinn has too much personal loyalty to Knight."
The list of permanent Knight successors is headed by Iowa coach Steve Alford, the Hoosiers' captain when they won the 1987 national championship. He had distanced himself from Knight in recent years, which could make him more palatable to IU officials.
"They should just go ahead and hire Alford," said former Northwestern coach KevinO'Neill, a longtime Knight friend. "That's what they're going to do anyway."
Meantime, in Bloomington, students marched from Assembly Hall to the home of the Indiana University president who had fired the basketball coach.
"Hey, hey, ho, ho. Myles Brand has got to go," some students chanted.
"Burn in hell, Brand," read a banner hanging from a balcony.
Someone ignited an effigy of Kent Harvey, the freshman whose Thursday run-in with Knight at Assembly Hall triggered a weekend of news conferences, investigations and meetings that ended with Knight's dismissal.
Harvey and his two brothers also have been threatened by E-mail and telephone, said their stepfather, Mark Shaw.
But Shaw said all three teens were on campus Sunday and wanted to stay at the school. University officials have said they would do whatever they could to ensure they are safe.
"They don't have anything to hide from. They told the truth," Shaw said.
The news of the firing brought students to the arena where banners celebrate Knight's three national championships. Thousands strong, they marched about a half-mile to the president's home at the heart of the campus while police in riot gear stood watch.
Within the hour of Brand's announcement, car horns blared and chants of "We love Bobby" echoed off the limestone walls of the campus.
James Turner, 21, a senior from Fort Wayne, grabbed a bullhorn outside Assembly Hall. "I was born in the state of Indiana, I've lived here all my life, and I don't ever want to be anywhere else. But today I'm ashamed to call myself a Hoosier," Turner said, bringing loud applause from the crowd.
Andrea Osman held up a red university flag on which she scrawled: "The spineless political institution of the year."
"I believe Indiana University as an institution caved in to pressure from the outside world, specifically the media, instead of doing what's best for the IU community," she said.
All 12 of Knight's players attended Sunday's news conference at which Brand announced the firing. Some hung their heads while others glared at the dozens of reporters fixed on Brand's words. A couple wiped away tears.
"We realize that IU is a great university, but we came here to play for Coach Knight," junior forward Tom Geyer said. "Right now, you just have to consider what all your options are."
Guard Dane Fife said the players hope to stay together and win a championship for Knight this season.
Players later told reporters they would stay together through the upcoming season if assistants Mike Davis and John Treloar continue to coach the team.
They also want a say on the new coach, said Geyer, one of Knight's strongest supporters on the team.
The university would consider the players' input, but "you have to be open-minded and do what is best for the institution," athletic director Clarence Doninger said.
The Harvey brothers aren't the first of Knight's critics to feel the wrath of the coach's supporters. Death threats drove English professor Murray Sperber to take leave for a year in his hometown of Montreal.
Sperber criticized both Knight and the university's handling of the coach earlier this year during an investigation into accusations that Knight choked former player Neil Reed during a 1997 practice.
"No person, a coach or anyone else, is bigger than the university," Sperber said. "And finally the trustees are biting the bullet on this and putting the good of the institution ahead of a basketball coach."
"As a former student-athlete at Indiana and former player for Coach Knight, it saddens me to see one of the greatest eras of college basketball end this way."
_ STEVE ALFORD
Iowa basketball coach
"I have great respect for what Coach Knight accomplished, but his attitude toward his peers and university officials is intolerable. In the end, Indiana University is much more than its basketball program, and it is the overall interests of the university that motivates this conclusion."
_ FREDERICK F. EICHHORN JR.
IU trustees vice president
"It's awfully hard to live under the guidelines that the university gave him. I'm not really sure that I could live by those guidelines."
_ TOM GEYER
Indiana basketball player
"I idolize Bob Knight. He loves us, and we love him."
_ DANE FIFE
Indiana basketball player
"He told me he thought this was just the most unfair thing he'd seen. I told him, "Bob, you just have to walk away.' He told me, "Billy, I've got to live my life. I can't live my life in a vacuum.' "
Lexington Herald Leader columnist and longtime friend of Knight, who spoke to the coach Friday night
1965-66 Army 188.692
1966-67 Army 138.619
1967-68 Army 205.800
1968-69 Army 1810.643
1969-70 Army 226.786
1970-71 Army 1113.458
1971-72 Indiana 178.680
1972-73 Indiana 226.786
1973-74 Indiana 235.822
1974-75 Indiana 311.966
1975-76 Indiana-x 3201.000
1976-77 Indiana 1611.593
1977-78 Indiana 218.724
1978-79 Indiana-y 2212.647
1979-80 Indiana 218.724
1980-81 Indiana-x 269.743
1981-82 Indiana 1910.655
1982-83 Indiana 246.800
1983-84 Indiana 229.710
1984-85 Indiana 1914.576
1985-86 Indiana 218.724
1986-87 Indiana-x 304.882
1987-88 Indiana 1910.655
1988-89 Indiana 278.771
1988-90 Indiana 1811.621
1990-91 Indiana 295.853
1991-92 Indiana 277.794
1992-93 Indiana 314.886
1993-94 Indiana 219.700
1994-95 Indiana 1912.613
1995-96 Indiana 1912.613
1996-97 Indiana 2211.667
1997-98 Indiana 2012.625
1998-99 Indiana 2311.676
1999-00 Indiana 208.714
Army total 10250.671
Indiana total 661239.734
Overall total 763289.705