What Could Have Been for Rutgers Men's Basketball

What Could Have Been for Rutgers Men's Basketball

It was November 27th, 2009 when Bob Knight used a cell phone to call a Rutgers alumnus and announce his interest in the not yet open Rutgers head coaching job. Bob Knight? Rutgers? Must be some kind of joke. Knight is one of the greatest coaches in college basketball history and Rutgers has been a doormat since 1979.

Why Rutgers? Knight said that he loved the hunting and fishing in Central Jersey and that his wife Karen was a big fan of the shopping in New York City. He was familiar with the Rutgers Athletic Center from earlier coaching days and felt that it was, at one time, one of the truly great home court advantages.

He had a few transfers interested in Rutgers and also was prepared to bring with him an assistant coach who would take over after Knight spent five years at the helm. There is little doubt that Knight, like Larry Brown at SMU, would bring Rutgers to the NCAA's and national respectability in short order.

When then Rutgers Athletic Director, Tim Pernetti, learned of Knight's interest he could not reach out to him, because he had a coach, Fred Hill,Jr. under contract. Knight stayed abreast of the dismal 2009-2010 Rutgers campaign and when Pernetti inexplicably did not fire Hill, disappeared from the picture.

Hill later imploded at a Rutgers baseball game and was fired and Pernetti, through channels tried to reach out to Knight. It was a hard push because certain members of the Rutgers Board of Governors felt that Knight was potentially too volatile. The irony is that Pernetti hired Mike Rice, maybe the most volatile head coach in Big East history and Rice's antics at Rutgers are now legendary. Rice was fired and now Rutgers appears mired in the first year of the Eddie Jordan regime, which shows little hope of bringing Rutgers to respectability.

Oh, what could have been on The Banks of the Old Raritan.