- Associated Press - Saturday, September 18, 2010

HAMMOND, IND. (AP) - Bob Knight was screaming at players, berating officials and hurling that chair across the court again.

It was all there on that introductory highlight video, prime fodder for a general roasting of “The General.”

Back in Indiana a decade after his firing, the former Hoosiers coach was the honored guest this time at a roast to benefit Chicago’s St. Joseph High School on Saturday.

For one night, no one was debating Indiana’s decision to fire him 10 years ago. This was a night of unity involving one of the most polarizing figures in the state and the game, one dominated by laughter and praise.

A line of dignitaries from master of ceremonies Jay Bilas to George Raveling, Jerry Colangelo, Jud Heathcote and Digger Phelps sure had fun at his expense.

For that matter, so did Knight.

He jumped onstage at a suburban Chicago casino and jokingly berated Bilas at the start, then got a standing ovation when he was formally introduced minutes later, with one fan screaming, “Welcome back to Indiana!”

Knight smiled. Others cheered.

“I’ve known Bob for 35 years, and if any of you need a friend, get a dog,” Raveling advised.

Later, he turned serious and said, “If I had to count on my right hand five great, loving, loyal friends, Bob would be amongst those five.”

Whether he’s loved or loathed, one thing can’t be debated: Indiana hasn’t been the same since that public and bitter split with Knight.

There were protests, death threats, effigies of school leaders. Ten years after a 19-year-old student accused Knight of grabbing him by the arm, Knight and the university remain mostly estranged, far apart on paths that have taken them in opposite directions.

Knight landed at Texas Tech and went on to break Dean Smith’s NCAA Division I record for victories and now has a broadcasting career.

Indiana is still trying to pick itself up.

The Hoosiers have gone through five athletic directors, four university presidents, four basketball coaches and one major NCAA recruiting scandal.

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