NCAA Men’s Basketball Finals! What an absolutely great time of year. And so interesting! The story lines go on and on…How cool is that! Anything is possible, this time of year, right?
There are some things that are just not possible. These things are beyond us.
They cannot happen – simply – Can. Not. Happen. No matter how hard one might try, or how oddly talented one might be, some things are just not possible – no matter even, what kind of assistance one has…
For example, things like –
Running a 2-minute mile, or…
As a human, traveling the speed of light, or…
Counting to infinity, or…
Actually comprehending how difficult it is to coach men’s basketball at Indiana University – in the shadow of Robert Montgomery Knight.
Dear Archie Miller…just a couple of quick questions – first, where is Dayton? No, nevermind that. But, that’s where you were, right? Ok, so – mmmmmmm, can you tell me – Is it possible to stand in front of thousands of rabidly hungry Indiana basketball fanatics and say…
“Hiya! I actually have no idea what I’m getting into here – but I hear Indiana is a cool place for basketball, and I’m just going to do my sparky hopeful best to win us some games.”
Is that possible? Because that would most precisely be the truth. And, because, no matter what you stand up in front of people and say – that, dear Archie, is what people hear – almost word-for-word. Might as well be blah-blah-blah-blah-blah.
And, Us? Who is us? Who – is – us?!!? Who, are you!?!
“A cool place for basketball?” Are you for real? Do you have any idea about the avalanche of stress and pressure that you just invited into your life!!!??!! We’re talking Indiana, here man. Indiana. IU. Go IU. Go get ‘em, Hoosierboys!
Oh wait – let’s give a shout out for that movie, “Hoosiers,” Great flick, yeah?. We loved it. And an extra special shout out to my boy Scott Summers, whose character in that movie, “Strap,” was a young lad of prayer. Interestingly, as an aside – Scott Summers and I played high school basketball together – guess where? Yup. Brownsburg, Indiana.
But for sure, our dear Archie must start praying now, and he’ll likely need to keep praying…
But – the only people who seem to have any idea how hard it would be to coach men’s basketball at Indiana University, now – still in the shadow of Bobby Knight – are the guys who turn down the job.
Now see, here’s the thing – for years, people have been wishing for Steve Alford to take the job. For years. Decades, even. When I was there as an Associate Instructor, from 1997 – 2002, even then the buzz was to get Alford and usher him right in. But let’s give Steve Alford some credit. He’s a smart guy. It’s not about money for a guy like Alford. If he ever does take the job coaching at Indiana University, it will be because, for whatever reason, he can do so without being under the shadow of a Knight.
By Dr. Rodney J. Blackman
Dr. Rodney J. Blackman is the Chair of Recreation Management at the United States Sports Academy, and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.