In 1985, Indiana University basketball coach Bobby Knight was incensed during a game against Purdue when two quick fouls were “unfairly” assessed to his players. He began to berate the refs who made the call, resulting in a technical foul being given to coach Knight.
Knight must’ve seen hundreds of bad foul calls up to that point, but on that fateful day in 1985, these were egregiously bad and needed some retribution. Knight found his catharsis in a chair.
In a fit of fiery rage, Knight picked up one of the chairs on the Indiana sideline, cocked it back like he was a PBA bowler, and flung it clean across the court, spinning wildly before crashing into the cheerleaders on the opposite side. He didn’t throw it at anyone in particular, this was just more of a “hey refs, look at me! I’m still angry at those calls you made and I won’t allow this game to go on until you realize how displeased I am!”
But words don’t do it justice, you can relive the magic below:
My favorite part of the video is not when he launches the chair, but how long it takes the refereeing crew to eject Bobby Knight.
After receiving one technical foul and then hurling a chair across Indiana’s court, the refs still do not eject him. Even after the tirade he went on, they elect to give Bobby the benefit of the doubt, hoping he will turn over a new leaf in his coaching style. After being yelled at for a minute or so, the refs finally realize how classless this whole affair has been and eject Knight for his transgressions.
A truly masterful duet by Bobby Knight his gliding red chair. I wonder what happened to that chair?
Well, so did Indianapolis Star Journalist Gregg Doyel. Doyel interviewed Indiana University Facilities Director Chuck Crabbe to see what had happened to that historic piece of furniture. You can read their conversation below:
“A handful of people think they really have it,” Crabb says. “So many people over the years have mentioned it to me on emails or on Facebook: ‘I have the chair.’
“Do you? Really?”
Here’s what Crabb knows about the chair, and this is all he knows:
“After the chair went across the court, a manager picked it up and took it away,” Crabb says. “Later that day, the court was converted back to its practice settings — and the chairs were set on a rack and wheeled away.”
Wait. So you’re telling me the chair — sorry, the chair — is unaccounted for?
“It’s like the ending to Indiana Jones,” Crabb says. “The Ark of the Covenant is on one of those crates in a giant warehouse. But which crate? Nobody knows.”
The analogy comes out of Crabb so fast, I’m thinking he’s used it before. How many people, I ask him, have come looking for the chair?
“You’re the first,” he says.”
By the end of the search, the mystery remains unsolved and Doyel is no closer to finding the chair. A fitting conclusion to such a tumultuous event in sports history. If any of you reading this knows where the chair is, tell us, Bobby is late for his bocce game this afternoon.
*Featured Photo (above) credit to USA TODAY Sports