Bob Knight Sues IU, Alleging Wrongful Dismissal - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

11/12/02

Bob Knight Sues IU, Alleging Wrongful Dismissal

Bob Knight is suing Indiana University over his firing after weeks of negotiations between his attorneys and the school collapsed.

The lawsuit was filed in the Monroe County Circuit Court on Friday. The former Hoosiers coach had until Tuesday to take legal action against the school.

Knight was fired Sept. 10, 2000 by university President Myles Brand, and gave Indiana notice in early 2001 that he might sue for wrongful dismissal.

In his lawsuit, Knight claimed he suffered losses in excess of $2 million, and alleged that he was terminated without cause, without a proper meeting of university trustees and without a chance to defend himself.

The school denied the allegations.

"The university has fulfilled all of its obligations under the contract it had with Mr. Knight. Indiana University will defend its interests vigorously," the university said in a statement released Tuesday.

The two sides agreed to extend talks last month in hopes of reaching an agreement, but negotiations collapsed late last week.Under Indiana law, Knight had two years to take legal action.

Attorney have said a key issue in the talks is whether Indiana should pay Knight for lost income and how much should be paid.

Russell Yates, Knight's attorney, said Tuesday that Knight filed the lawsuit because he believes the university breached the contract both by firing him and costing him compensation.

The university paid Knight under the conditions of his contract, but the coach lost income that was directly dependent on the agreement, including money derived from television and radio programs, a basketball camp, a shoe contract and other endorsements, the lawsuit said.

"Coach Knight would not have gone into litigation for fun," Yates said. "He would not like this distraction, but we feel very clearly that he is owed money under the contract."

Knight spent 29 seasons at Indiana and won three national championships. He took a job as men's basketball coach at Texas Tech six months after being fired from Indiana.

Brand fired Knight because the president said the coach violated a "zero-tolerance" policy that IU officials had imposed to try to keep his behavior in check.

Knight was fired days after an IU student claimed the coach had twisted his arm and admonished him after he greeted Knight by his last name.

Knight has disputed the reasons for his firing.

About 45 fans filed a lawsuit against Brand and the trustees in April 2001 over the firing. They alleged Brand and the trustees violated Indiana's Open Door Law the day before Knight was dismissed by holding two secret meetings about the firing without a majority present.

In September, Knight agreed to pay $25,000 to settle a lawsuit filed by former assistant coach Ron Felling. Knight, who acknowledged to shoving Felling in anger, also agreed to cooperate with Felling in a lawsuit against the university, according to attorneys.

The lawsuit alleges that the university was negligent in supervising its former coach.

(Copyright 2002 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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