The Dark Knight

Georgia and Alabama have coaching vacancies. Bob Knight has time on his hands. Could one of basketball's most successful – and controversial – coaches be headed for the SEC?

Knight established himself as one of the game's biggest winners and worst losers during his stint as head coach at Indiana. When he cut short a comeback at Texas Tech by handing the reins to his son, he appeared to be done. The chance to assume a quality program such as Bama or Georgia might bring him out of retirement, however.

Bruce Pearl thinks both jobs might appeal to Knight.

"The Alabama job and the Georgia job are both great jobs," Tennessee's head coach said. "Georgia is a great job because of the recruiting base ... right there in Atlanta. That's a place we feel is the closest city to us, and a place we've really tried to go and will continue to try to go at hard.

"Alabama has got good in-state talent, as well."

Master marketer that he is, Pearl believes the addition of a high-profile coach such as Knight would greatly enhance the SEC's basketball image.

"It would be awesome to have someone like Coach Knight in the league," the Vol coach said. "That would be of interest to fans all over the country."

The two men are no strangers to one another. Pearl was an assistant to Iowa's Dr. Tom Davis from 1986-92, a time when Knight was in his heyday at Indiana.

Pearl says the relationship between Davis and Knight was "competitive," adding: "I think there was mutual respect. It was different systems but we battled."

Whereas Pearl is known for his bubbly, upbeat personality, Knight is known for his cynical, brooding nature. Despite their differences, the Vol coach holds the former Hoosier boss in high regard. He hopes the feeling is mutual.

"If you can earn Coach Knight's respect, you've accomplished something," Pearl said. "You don't often know who has it and who doesn't. Coach Knight has said nice things about our program. I'm not in position to know whether I've earned his respect or not, but I'd sure love to have it."

Asked why Knight's respect matters to him, Pearl paused thoughtfully before replying:

"He doesn't give it easily. He and I couldn't be much more different in many, many ways. I think (the value of having Knight's respect) is that it's so hard to come by."

Inside Tennessee Top Stories