WKU Administration: Knight Not a Coaching Candidate

By: James Brandenburg Email
By: James Brandenburg Email

After published reports and message board chatter about Bob Knight's candidacy as head basketball coach whipped Western Kentucky University fans into a frenzy, administrators at WKU Wednesday night dismissed any chance of Knight coming to the Hill.

"Absolutely zero whatsoever," WKU president Dr. Gary Ransdell said before meeting with players for the first time since Darrin Horn's departure for the head coaching job at South Carolina.

"I think Bobby Knight said publicly he would be interested in taking another job at a school like Western Kentucky," said WKU director of athletics Dr. Wood Selig. "We've been contacted by someone who has said they could put us in contact with Bobby Knight. That's been the extent of everything.

"We have not pursued anything, Bobby Knight has not pursued this job. That's it. But, it's taken on a life of its own for sure."

The news came after a whirlwind day that had rumors spreading throughout south central Kentucky as to Knight's whereabouts, his method of arrival to the area and his interest in the job.

"There's absolutely nothing to it," said Ransdell. "It's kind of cruel for him, I would think. He gets the Internet; he's not oblivious to rumors like that. He could care less and I suspect he does care less, but somebody's having fun at our expense."

The story Wednesday night was a much different one than was being reported and rumored throughout the previous 24 hours.

Sources told WBKO Tuesday night the mention of Knight's name was legitimate in conjunction with WKU's coaching search, although the level of interest between the two parties was unknown.

The Bowling Green Daily News quoted Selig on Wednesday as saying, "I've heard that speculation, too... I think it's legit (speculation)."

But the story grew to far greater proportions Wednesday. One thread on an Internet message board had nearly 13,000 views on the subject as of Wednesday evening. Selig and Ransdell said some tales were even taller than that.

Said Ransdell: "I was actually at last night's baseball game here on campus and was told emphatically, 'No, you were with coach Knight at Longhorn Steakhouse last night.'"

"We've heard there were sightings in Glasgow, that he was having dinner with various people," said Selig. "I don't know where all this gets started... it's unbelievable the proportions that this story has taken on."

The coaching search now turns to other candidates for WKU. Ransdell said the school would interview either four or five candidates and could have a new coach by the beginning of next week.

"I've already talked with probably a dozen-and-a-half (candidates)," Selig said. "So, in effect, the process has begun from a larger number and we have culled it down to a smaller number already."

Selig and Ransdell confirmed one candidate was interviewed Wednesday. That's believed to be WKU assistant coach Scott Cherry, who was confirmed as one of the candidates for the job by Ransdell. Cherry came to the Hill before the 2007-08 season after a stint as an assistant at George Mason.

Other names being floated for the job are former WKU and current Texas assistant coach Ken McDonald; former Clemson head coach and current Florida assistant Larry Shyatt; former Louisville and current Minnesota assistant Vince Taylor and former Louisville assistant and current North Carolina A & T head coach Jerry Eaves.

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