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From: Mac McIntyre
Category: In My Humble Opinion
Date: 11 Dec 2000
Remote Name: 18.104.22.168
Northern Illinois University head men's basketball coach Brian Hammel surprised Director of Athletics Cary Groth Wednesday night (December 6) in asking to be relieved of his coaching duties effective immediately. The 47-year-old Hammel finished his ten-year Northern Illinois tenure with a 117-138 won-lost record and a career 208-208 overall mark in 16 seasons. Current NIU assistant Andy Greer---who joined the Huskies program in 1997-98---was named interim head coach.
The search now begins for a replacement. There is a pretty good coach sitting on the sidelines, available for employment. Bobby Knight should be offered the position of head coach for Northern Illinois University. And he should take it.
OK... so Bobby Knight has a temper. He is not politically correct. But he is exactly what NIU needs right now. With construction beginning on the new Convocation Center in the Spring, Northern needs a little excitement. Knight would bring a lot of excitement and he would sell a lot of season tickets and rejuvenate the much needed fundraising for the NIU Athletic Program. He would also bring NIU a winning basketball program because he is one of the nation's best coaches.
Sure, the move would raise a lot of eyebrows. Naysayers of Knight and of Northern would have a heyday. There would be commentators on ESPN, NBC, ABC, FOX, HBO and on almost every radio station and in almost every newspaper in America saying things like, "this is just a public relations ploy by Northern to bring attention to their program."
Why should Knight come to DeKalb? Because he would bring a winning program to a Division I university that is an hour away from the media giant of Chicago. He would prove, once and for all, that he is one of the best basketball coaches ever. And he would out recruit the University of Illinois, Indiana, DePaul, etc., for the best STUDENT-athletes in the region. Knight deserves criticism for some of his behavior -- no one ever questioned his integrity when it comes to the standards that athletes in college are supposed to be held to.
It will take courage for NIU to go after Bobby Knight. They should reach down deep and find it.