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Bobby Knight is a sports icon, not a nice guy

There's not a clear-cut definition of a modern-day sports icon.

Tiger Woods makes the list for his ability to win seemingly every time he steps on the course.

Michael Jordan earned his sports icon status for being perhaps the best basketball player who ever laced up a pair of sneakers.

The late Dale Earnhardt is in a class by himself for his ability to win races, but more than anything else, he helped send NASCAR through the stratosphere in terms of popularity.

Yes, the just-retired Texas Tech basketball coach Bobby Knight makes the list too.

Knight might be the greatest basketball coach ever.

With 902 victories and three national championships and five Final Four appearances permanently attached to his resume, Knight reinvented the game.

He also proved he could coach on the international level too, helping the USA team to gold medals.

Maybe more importantly, Knight's graduated players at a rate of more than 90 percent.

But for all of his greatness, there is no getting around the fact that Bobby Knight can be a first-class jerk.

Knight's tantrums are legendary. He's thrown chairs, choked players and even slapped a police offer in Puerto Rico.

The list goes on an on.

Although coaches and members of the media have often had contentious relationships, Knight crossed the line with some of his comments and actions toward members of the Fourth Estate.

His ability to spew colorful language is legendary and would often make a grizzled old sailor blush.

He was fired at Indiana for allegedly grabbing Kent Harvey, a freshman student at IU, who the coach claims showed disrespect for saying, "Hey Knight. how's it going?"

Maybe the young student was just star struck, but there was no reason for Knight to make such a big deal out of such a little event.

Harvey wasn't a child, who needed a lesson in manners, he was a college student, an adult in the eyes of the law.

Knight expected the young man to bow down and show him respect, but that's a word that's never been in the coach's vocabulary when it comes to how to treat others.

After getting fired at Indiana, Knight should have drifted off in the sunset to never coach again.

As good as Knight was as a basketball coach, his blueprint for getting along with people never worked.

The tragic thing is Knight got too many free passes.

Still, now that veteran coach has stepped aside at Texas Tech and handed things over to his son, Patrick, there are a few die-hard fans who want him back at Indiania since it looks like Kelvin Sampson could be out as the Hoosiers' head coach for getting in trouble with the NCAA again.

Yes, Knight has always managed to follow the rules when it comes to some of the NCAA's guidelines, but the game of college basketball will do just fine without him.

Now maybe he will just go fishing and we won't ever be bothered by his antics again.

Doug Gorman is sports editor of the News-Daily and Daily Herald. He can be reached at dgorman@news-daily.com.