Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
Big East Coach: Knight to Rutgers Would be ‘Crazy’
If you believe every crazy rumor you read on the old Interweb, Bob Knight will be the next head coach at Rutgers and Kevin Boyle will come in as an assistant and the coach-in-waiting.
It never ceases to amaze me how something that starts as a post on a messageboard can graduate into a blog post by someone with a first name only before finally landing as a “rumor’ on a legitimate newspaper blog.
While Boyle told me recently he would be interested in coaching at the college level “if” a job were to open up, there is no hard evidence that I’m aware of that Knight is a feasible candidate should Rutgers AD Tim Pernetti opt to buy out Fred Hill for $1.8 million after this season.
“They gotta be crazy to bring in Bobby Knight,” one prominent Big East assistant coach told me. “It’s like a fish out of water. It’s like when Eddie Sutton went to San Francisco [after coaching at Creighton, Arkansas, Kentucky and Oklahoma State]. Bob Knight coaches at Indiana and Texas Tech, then he goes to Rutgers?”
The Big East assistant said he had heard the same names that everyone else has heard for Rutgers.
“I’ve heard Fran McCaffery, that’s what I heard,” he said. “I’ve been told Fran Fraschilla would take it. I’ve been told Tim Welsh would take it.” He also threw out Hofstra coach Tom Pecora’s name as a possibility.
The Big East assistant said Rutgers would need a “young and enthusiastic” coach should they opt to replace Hill, who on Saturday won his first conference game of the season with a 74-73 victory over Notre Dame at the RAC. Rutgers is now 10-11 on the season, 1-8 in the Big East. Over the last two seasons, Rutgers is 3-24 in the league.
The Big East coach questioned whether Knight, who turns 70 in October, would have the energy to take over at Rutgers.
“Bob Knight is the greatest coach of all time, but he’s at an age,” the coach said. “”It takes a lot of time and energy to build something. It’s not just about a basketball coach. It’s about being an ambassador. You have to bring in an amazing staff.”
Knight has also never recruited in the Northeast before. And whoever coaches at Rutgers needs to be in tune with the coaches at St. Anthony, St. Patrick, St. Benedict’s, Paterson Catholic, Rice, Lincoln, Christ the King and so on.
“He’s never recruited here in his life,” the coach said of Knight.
The coach said Houston assistant Jerry Hobbie, an Elizabeth, N.J. native who attended St. Patrick and is close with Boyle would be a good potential assistant coach.
As for Boyle himself, I personally think he — and Dan Hurley — would be good fits at an NEC or MAAC school. Then, Boyle, one of the best high school coaches in the nation over the last 20 years, could move up the coaching rungs.
Here’s what he told me for a recent Rivals.com article about his future goals:
“You hear rumors all the time about this job opening, that job opening,” he said. “And obviously if a job in New Jersey opens, of course I’d be very interested in seeing if I could be a candidate for one of those. If they open.
“But obviously you’ve got to wait till something happens and you wish all the guys that are in those places success. And eventually if something opens at one of those schools, then I would love to be considered at that time.”
Bob Hurley Sr., meanwhile, told The Star-Ledger that although he thinks Rutgers should keep Hill as the head coach, both Dan and Bobby Jr. would make for good college coaches.
“It’s very difficult to sit down on a bench and coach before if you haven’t done it, and Danny got the experience of four years as an assistant at Rutgers with Kevin Bannon,” Hurley Sr. told the Ledger. “He also has the international contacts you need from coaching one of the top prep teams in the country. He’s played in the Big East and coached there as an assistant. Bobby would jump at the chance to get back into basketball and he’s still involved in the game working camps. His name in Jersey is very good and he’d be a good set of eyes in regard to recruiting guards.”
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Adam Zagoria is a New York Times contributor and Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.