Legendary Hoosiers coach Bob Knight admits to having "grabbed a lot of kids" during his time at Indiana University and also takes a shot at storied University of California coach John Wooden during an interview set to air Wednesday night.
In a sitdown with broadcaster Joe Buck for the Audience Network, Knight talked about his departure from Indiana and didn't hold back, NBC Sports reported.
In 2000, Knight was relieved of his coaching duties, despite having coached the Hoosiers since 1971, after Sports Illustrated reported on a former Hoosier player, Neil Reed, claiming the head coach choked him in 1997.
Buck asked Knight about Reed and his dismissal and the former coach confirmed he may have “grabbed a lot of kids.”
“Well, I’m not going to talk about it, because I’m sure that at one time or another I grabbed a lot of kids,” Knight told Buck.
“Did society change during the course of time? No, I think that people changed there,” Knight told Buck. “Enough people changed there that were tired of basketball being the guiding light of the university, and I won’t go in any other direction.”
Knight said the student he grabbed made an immature statement saying, “Hey Knight, what’s going on?’
“That kid made a dumb mistake,” Knight said. “I went over to that kid and I did a lot more for the son of a b---- than his parents ever did for him. And I went over there and I said ‘Son, let me tell you something, you don’t address adults like that under any circumstances.’ And that’s why I have no use for Indiana University, because they used that as a reason to get me out of there, and that’s absolute b-------.”
Knight also had some less than flattering words to say about late UCLA coach Wooden.
“I’ve never been a Wooden fan,” Knight began.
“I have a lot of respect for Wooden as a coach, how he coached, he was a good coach, but from then on, and I don’t mind saying it, I don’t respect Wooden, because he allowed Sam Gilbert to do whatever it took to recruit kids. And one time he told me, he said ‘I just didn’t know how to deal with Sam Gilbert.’ And I’m saying to myself ‘I damn sure could have dealt with him,’” Knight told Buck.
Gilbert, a businessman who was renowned for being the “athletic booster” to UCLA basketball players, reportedly gave players “advice, counsel and discounts on items,” the Los Angeles Times reported. Gilbert’s activities landed UCLA in hot water with the NCAA. The NCAA put the UCLA men’s basketball team on probation for two years following the Times investigation.
Wooden was accused of knowing about Gilbert’s activities and turning a blind eye.
“Personally, I liked John, as a person, but it isn’t just John, it’s a whole UCLA approach to recruiting,” Knight said. “I think John was called in and told he didn’t have to worry about recruiting, that they had people that would take care of that for him. And that’s coming from people who really know the circumstances.”