Myles Brand — RIP

Okay, so this is going back to my roots a bit. Myles Brand was once the President of Indiana University– my alma mater. I love IU to this day, and IU basketball runs in my veins. No apologies here — I know, I’m Canadian now, and have been for longer than I was an American, but being Hoosier is part of your genetic makeup. It’s got nothing to do with political boundaries — it’s an attitude.

I want to pay a quick tribute to this man — somebody I think was a great man. Yes, he was President of IU, but that is just the start of the story. He had the cojones to fire Bobby Knight, the most successful and revered coach in the history of Indiana basketball. And that’s saying something. Unless you are a Hoosier, I’m not sure you can appreciate what Bobby Knight meant to the people of Indiana, and particularly the basketball fans (and being a basketball fan is stamped on your birth certificate). I always admired Bobby Knight’s skills as a coach. He knew the game better than anyone I could imagine; certainly he knew it better than me. But as a loyal alumnus of Indiana University, he embarrassed me as often as he made me proud. Certainly, he was a complex personality.

But this isn’t about Bobby; it’s about Myles Brand. Bobby was often out of control during his career, but Myles Brand was the first President to stand up to him (not exactly true, but if you want the details, you’ll have to ask). Anyway, Brand put Knight on notice, and announced that there would be a zero tolerance policy imposed on his behaviour. Knight screwed up again (does putting a player in a choke hold count?). Brand fired him, and the outcry was swift and crushing. Indiana folk will forget their principles when basketball is on the line — no kidding — that’s just the way it is. Myles Brand held his ground, fired Knight, and moved Indiana into a period of unsettled basketball, but onto solid moral ground. Thank you, President Brand. As my best friend once told me, I’m a Canadian on the outside, but a Hoosier inside. Today, I’m proud to be part of a Hoosier tradition that includes the likes of Myles Brand.


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