VAN WERT — He’s outspoken, he’s controversial, and he’s selling tickets like crazy. He’s Coach Bob Knight, and he’s coming Thursday to Niswonger Performing Arts Center.
“He’s rather controversial,” said Paul Hoverman, executive director of the NPAC. “We’ve talked to people who say they wouldn’t cross the street to see him, and we’ve heard from others who can’t believe we got him. He’s definitely someone people either love or hate."
Looking at ticket sales, which are among the highest Niswonger has had for a speaker, he’s got quite a fan base.
“Many remember him as a former coach at IU and Texas Tech, and now he’s an analyst for NCAA basketball, so he’s got a lot of new people becoming familiar with him,” Hoverman said.
In Van Wert, his hour-plus speech will focus on the highs and lows of his career. He is also expected to discuss coaching the Olympic Dream Team and working with Michael Jordan. Never short on opinions, he’s also expected to discuss his thoughts on current issues, including pay-to-play for college athletes.
However, whatever the coach wants to discuss, he will discuss.
“I’ve got the idea that we aren’t going to tell him anything to talk about. He’ll decide that,” Hoverman said, chuckling.
His accomplishments and his career speak for themselves.
“People really feel they know him and know about him. Of the people who like him, I think they respect him because of his accomplishments,” Hoverman said.