Wisconsin’s athletic department had the chance to hire football coach Bo Schembechler and basketball coach Bob Knight, as detailed in ESPN staff writer Jesse Temple’s new book “100 Things Wisconsin Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die.”
Schembechler wanted to replace former Wisconsin coach Milt Bruhn in 1967 and he went to Madison, Wisc. for an interview, where someone on the search committee had reportedly fallen asleep, which upset him. He also wasn’t pleased with some of the questions asked during the interview so he walked out the door and withdrew his name from consideration. Schembechler later became Michigan’s head coach and became one of the sport’s great coaches.
That time Wisconsin could've had Bo Schembechler and Bob Knight at the same time … and ended up with neither.https://t.co/xGTEZ8iee6
— ESPN (@espn) September 27, 2016
Knight was one of seven candidates interviewed in 1968, when he was offered the men’s basketball head coaching job. There is reportedly confusion as to whether Knight accepted the offer or asked for more time to think about his decision, but Wisconsin ultimately leaked news of his reported hiring to a newspaper.
Knight called Schembechler for advice on how to handle the situation and Schembechler reportedly told him to tell Wisconsin he had no interest in the job. Knight returned to Army before becoming Indiana’s head coach.
The landscape of the Big Ten could’ve been significantly different if Wisconsin had ultimately hired either Schembechler or Knight, let alone both.