Work in Sports
IU secretary says Knight verbally abused her
Posted: Monday May 15, 2000 11:15 AM
INDIANAPOLIS (CNNSI.com) -- While Indiana University trustees wait to meet behind closed doors Sunday, apparently to decide whether to expand the investigation of charges against basketball coach Bob Knight, a longtime IU secretary says Knight angrily swore at and physically intimidated her.
Jeanette Hartgraves, 66, the secretary to IU athletics director Clarence Doninger, told The Indianapolis Star on Wednesday that she feared for her safety during the 1998 incident, during which Knight allegedly swore at her and approached her in a menacing manner.
In February 1998, Hartgraves said, she received a call from Knight's office. The coach's secretary said Knight wanted to speak to someone who was in a budget meeting with Doninger.
When Hartgraves asked Knight's secretary if she could tell the person in the meeting what the matter concerned, she said, Knight got on the phone and spoke to her.
"He told me it was none of my g-------- f------ business," Hartgraves told The Star when contacted Wednesday. According to The Star report, Knight then slammed down the telephone, came downstairs and stormed into Doninger's office waiting area.
Hartgraves, an IU employee for 36 years, told The Star that Knight called her a "f------ bitch" and was advancing toward her in anger when Doninger stepped in to restrain him. Knight then left.
The report said that Doninger confirmed Wednesday that he was present during the incident but declined to discuss it further, saying he wanted to let university officials handle the matter.
According to The Star, IU's investigation also turned up details of another Knight tantrum against Hartgraves in the athletics director's office during the term of Ralph Floyd, who preceded Doninger.
In that episode in the late 1980s, an angry Knight flung a potted plant against a wall, shattering the ceramic pot and a glass picture frame, Hartgraves said. She was hit by pieces of glass and other debris but was not injured.
In March, University president Myles Brand appointed two trustees to look into accusations that Knight grabbed former player Neil Reed by the throat during a 1997 practice. Since then, other damaging claims have been made against the coach.
Indianapolis television station WRTV on Tuesday quoted unidentified sources as saying the trustees heard new accusations against Knight at a board meeting last week.
Doninger told The Associated Press on Wednesday that "various things" unrelated to Reed have been reported since Reed's charges were made public in March.
"Whether the trustees discussed those or not, I don't know. I guess I had always thought that as they went through this review there would be some discussion of other things, but I don't know that for a fact," Doninger said.
The trustees met in a closed executive session last Thursday during a regularly scheduled board meeting. At that time, there had been no investigation beyond Reed, a source close to the investigation told the AP on condition of anonymity.
John Walda, the trustees' president, and Frederick Eichhorn, a trustee and former president of the Indiana State Bar Association, were appointed by Brand to investigate the accusation by Reed, who transferred from Indiana in 1997. The two also are investigating claims that Knight once kicked Brand out of a practice and also showed players a piece of soiled toilet paper, saying that was what their practice resembled.
The university said the trustees will meet again Sunday.
The WRTV report said Eichhorn and Walda told the board several of the people they interviewed volunteered new information, including accusations unrelated to Reed.
Walda did not immediately return a telephone message seeking comment left at his office in Fort Wayne, Ind. Eichhorn, contacted at his office in Gary, Ind., said he would not comment until the investigation was completed.
Knight, who was out of town Wednesday, denied the original accusations. Brand has said he was never told to leave practice, and university vice president Christopher Simpson, who has been Brand's spokesman during the investigation, refused to comment on the WRTV report.
"The investigation is continuing, and we anticipate it being completed well within the parameters of mid-June," Simpson said of the 90-day deadline originally announced by Brand.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.