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Students, Players And Peers React

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They were Knight's army, marching from Assembly Hall to the home of the Indiana University president who had fired the basketball coach.

"Hey, hey, ho, ho. Myles Brand has got to go," some students chanted. "Burn in hell, Brand," said a banner hanging from a balcony.

Someone ignited an effigy of Kent Harvey, the freshman whose Thursday run-in with Knight at Assembly Hall triggered a weekend of news conferences, investigations and meetings that ended with Bob Knight's dismissal.

The news of the firing Sunday brought students to the arena where banners celebrate Knight's three national championships hang. The students cursed Brand. Then, thousands strong, marched about a half mile to the president's home at the heart of the campus while police in riot gear stood watch.

Within the hour of Brand's announcement, car horns blared and chants of "We love Bobby" echoed off the limestone walls of the campus.

James Turner, a 21-year-old senior from Fort Wayne, grabbed a bullhorn outside Assembly Hall.

"I was born in the state of Indiana, I've lived here all my life, and I don't ever want to be anywhere else. But today I'm ashamed to call myself a Hoosier," Turner said, bringing loud applause from the crowd.

Andrea Osman held up a red university flag on which she scrawled: "The spineless political institution of the year."

"I believe Indiana University as an institution caved in to pressure from the outside world, specifically the media, instead of doing what's best for the IU community," she said.

Moments earlier, someone ignited a pile of red and white Indiana apparel in the arena's parking lot. A police officer moved in with a fire extinguisher. Security guards videotaped the action.

Matt Schildkret, 18, could not contain his frustration.

"All the freshmen, we came here to see Bobby. Now we can't see him. It's ridiculous," Schildkret said.

At the Memorial Student Union, students had watched Brand's news conference on TV. Shilin Chiu, a 20-year-old senior, recalled a recent trip to San Francisco where she was asked about the man who, for many people, has come to represent Indiana University. Things will change now that Knight's gone, she said.

"I believe the university will gain more recognition," Chiu said.

Knight's players had left the campus to drive to Indianapolis to watch Brand's news conference and ponder whether to finish their college careers wearing Indiana's cream and crimson uniforms.

"We realize that IU is a great university, but we came here to play for coach Knight," junior forward Tom Geyer said. "Right now, you just have to consider what all your options are."

Before the news conference, Brand informed Gov. Frank O'Bannon of his decision to fire Knight.

"I have known Bob Knight for many years and am personally saddened by this outcome and the chain o events that led to it," O'Bannon said. "Nonetheless, I am confident that IU's action today is in the best interest of the university, and I fully support its decision."

Steve Alford, the star of Knight's 1987 championship team and now the coach at Big Ten rival Iowa, said Bloomington would not be the same for him.

"I have always seen Indiana University and coach Knight as one in the same," Alford said.

Michigan State coach Tom Izzo acknowledged Knight could have conducted himself better.

"But the great things he's done and the wonderful things he's accomplished far outweigh the bad," Izzo said.

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