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Original Issue

As Different As Knight and Davis

Fire Indiana interim coach Mike Davis! The sooner the better!

He lost in the first round of the NCAAs last Thursday, didn't he?
Did the great Bob Knight ever do that? (Well, not unless you
count four times in his last six tries.)

Why would you want a humble lamb like Davis, who says he doesn't
swear? Knight won 661 games at Indiana, and he swore like a
longshoreman with bunions. Why would you want a milquetoast who
won't smoke or drink and listens to tapes of his pastor's sermons
while he's driving? How would that look in a Playboy interview?

Hey, Indiana, you don't want a cream puff like Davis! You want a
killer! You want someone who's Ginsu-tongued and always ready
with the devastating put-down, the way Knight was. Davis fights a
stutter every day. In high school he stuttered so badly he had to
quit playing quarterback because he couldn't get out the signals.

You want someone who understands the vital importance of college
basketball. You don't want someone with perspective like the
40-year-old Davis, whose father died when Mike was 12, who was so
broke as a young coach that he sold T-shirts out of the trunk of
his car to help pay the rent. A guy like Davis, whose
two-year-old daughter, Nichole, was killed in a car wreck in
1990, isn't going to appreciate the mind-blowing tragedy of
losing to Purdue.

After the Hoosiers lost to Kent State last Thursday night, did
Davis get angry at his players and walk home alone in the rain?
Did he tie them up with rope and singe their arm hair? Stick
bamboo shoots under their toenails? No! He hugged them! What kind
of Indiana coach is that? If Knight ever hugged one of his
players after a loss, he was probably trying to break the guy's

I mean, where are the crowd-pleasing theatrics? Knight kicked his
own son! Slam-dunked a scorer's table telephone! Heaved a chair
across the floor! What has Davis done this year? Zippo! He hasn't
even checked his players' neck sizes yet! "Oh, no, no," he says.
"Hit a kid? No, man, never. That doesn't prove you're tough. I
wouldn't want anybody hitting my kid. I'm not going to hit
anybody else's kid. I teach, not hit."

Where's the accidental shooting of a hunting pal? The talk of
wanting to live in the good old days of dueling? The threat by
his lawyer of a lawsuit against Indiana? Davis's idea of
controversy is thinking bad thoughts about the officials. "I wish
I could stop that," he says. "I ought to be above that."

Pink-slip that altar boy! He doesn't know the first thing about
Indiana coaching tradition. Secretaries don't even duck when
Davis comes into the athletic offices. Faculty aren't putting
their names on an e-mail petition to keep him from coaching, as
more than 60 members of the Texas Tech faculty did last week in
opposition as Knight was being interviewed for the Red Raiders'
job. Knight used to yank players out of the game for making
mistakes, sometimes followed by a head butt. This season Davis
had to yell at his players to stop looking over to the bench
after every mistake. "Just play!" he'd shout. "I'm not pulling
you out!"

Has there ever been a job worse than the one Davis took after
Knight was fired? Student protests attracted cops in riot gear,
the university president was getting death threats, Davis was
getting hundreds of hateful e-mail messages, minicams were
everywhere, and fans howled for Davis to quit.

He might have, if the players hadn't threatened to transfer if
Davis, or assistant John Treloar, wasn't named interim coach. No
wonder Bob's son, Pat, is going around now saying that Davis
"stabbed my father and me in the back." Bob didn't disown that
statement. "[Pat] has a right to say that," he said to Bob
Costas. Of course, Davis should have abandoned those kids! So
what if he helped recruit most of them?

Send him packing! Didn't you hear CBS's Billy Packer during the
telecast of the Big Ten championship game? It was all tied up,
3:50 to go, Davis's Hoosiers and the Iowa Hawkeyes of Steve
Alford, the man whom so many people in Indiana want to come back
to coach their team. And Packer says, "The next 3:50 will be the
most significant thing in the next 30 years of Indiana
basketball!" In other words, forget how Davis saved a sinking
program, did it with only a month to prepare and no seniors, and
give the job to whoever wins the game! Iowa won, so don't waste
another minute! Fire Davis as interim coach!

Make him the permanent one.

After Indiana lost to Kent State, Mike Davis hugged his players.
What kind of Indiana coach is that?