Rutgers athletic director Tim Pernetti has “formally” reached out to legendary coach Bob Knight, according to a trusted source who spoke with a person in the Rutgers athletic department.
“They have formally reached out to him,” the source said. “But I doubt it’s going to go anywhere. His name has popped up for every single big coaching opening in the last few years.”
Reached by phone, Gary O’Hagan, IMG’s director of coaching, said, “I have no knowledge of that.”
Knight is an IMG client.
Pat Knight, Bob’s son and the head coach at Texas Tech, said his father would consider coaching again and interested schools should give him a ring.
“If I’m St. John’s or Rutgers, to me, you gotta be an idiot … if you’re an AD or president, it doesn’t hurt to call,” Knight told SNY.tv exclusively last month before St. John’s hired Steve Lavin, Knight’s colleague at ESPN.
Knight, 69, is the all-time wins leader in Division I men’s basketball with 902 and won three NCAA championships during his tenure at Indiana. He last coached in 2008 at Texas Tech and now serves as an analyst for ESPN.
Rutgers coach Fred Hill was given a $600,000 settlement offer and is expected to either accept a financial package or be fired for cause.
“It is an internal personnel matter. We have no further comment at this time,” Rutgers AD Tim Pernetti said in a statement
Other names mentioned as possible successors to Hill are Fran Fraschilla, Jim O’Brien, Jim Baron, Dino Gaudio and Fran Dunphy.
Pat Knight said his father still has an itch for the game and didn’t retire because he was done with basketball.
“He was just tired,” Pat said. “He was tired from everything. But he’s got the best basketball mind around. He was just tired, he was worn out and wasn’t feeling well. Now he feels great.”
The elder Knight still gives coaching clinics and works with Pat’s team from time to time.
“To me, I could see him kind of missing that part, the game situation. I wouldn’t be surprised if he got back in it [coaching], or I wouldn’t be surprised if he kept on doing TV,” Pat said.
Still, the younger Knight said interested parties should call.
“Oh yeah, I think so,” he said. “All he can do is tell you no. He brings an instant recognition to you. You know you’re going to win. I mean, the guy’s better than anyone out there.”
Pat said his father would need “the right situation” to “come around.”
“Once a coach, always a coach,” he said. “So if something intrigued him, it wouldn’t surprise me. He’s got more energy than most guys. It has to be a good situation for him, though.”
Asked if his father would be able to recruit and feel comfortable in the Northeast, Pat said: “He’d have to hire guys to help him out in this area. You have to get some guys that know the area because no one’s better in the home, just sitting with parents and the kids. So that part he’d be great at.
“Just wherever he is, he’d just have to hire people that know the area. But to me, it’s a no-brainer. All he can do is say no.”
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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.