Knight praised the students for their support of his programs over the years and asked them to continue to support this year's team. He also occasionally took verbal shots at the current administration at the school.
But Knight pleaded with the students to forget about the IU freshman who was involved in the most recent incident that led to his firing.
"Let that kid be a student and let him get on with life," Knight said. "This thing, believe me, had happened to me long before that situation took place. That kid is not responsible for my not coaching at Indiana, and make sure you understand that."
He also asked the students to wish he and his family good luck in the future. Something, he said, the university administration hadn't done.
The legendary coach was fired Sunday after the alleged altercation with Kent Harvey which was deemed to have violated a "zero-tolerance" policy imposed on him in May, a policy Knight claims was never fully explained.
"Nobody ever explained that to me," Knight said during an interview on ESPN Tuesday night. "I asked the vice president of the university as recently as last Thursday. I said, 'Can you explain zero tolerance to me?' And he looked me right in the eye and said, 'No I can't.'"
"I had no idea what zero tolerance is. There was never anything said," he said.
Indiana Tuesday named assistant coach Mike Davis as Knight's interim replacement.
Players had issued an ultimatum to athletic director Clarence Doninger that Davis or John Treloar, another Knight assistant, be hired as interim coach or members of the team would defect en masse.
Several players had threatened to leave the program Monday, including junior guard Dane Fife and highly recruited freshman swingman A.J. Moye of Atlanta, Ga.
Knight told ESPN he had planned to stay at Indiana, where he had amassed a 661-240 record, until the end of his career, despite frustration at changes there.
"I thought I would stay here and coach until I was done coaching, which I'm certainly not now," Knight, who coached Indiana to three national titles, said. "There's someplace that's a better fit for me as a basketball coach than Indiana is right now."
But he vowed, "There's no way I'm done coaching." He will be paid for the remaining two years on his Indiana contract.
In the incident which prompted the firing, Harvey's greeting "Hey, what's up, Knight?"offended Knight, leading the coach to grab Harvey by the arm and lecture him on manners.
"I think that's something I would probably do under the same circumstances tomorrow, and the next day and the day after that," Knight told ESPN. "What I did with that student was simply try to teach him something about manners."
When IU president Myles Brand dismissed Knight, severing the coach's 29-year relationship with the school, he said he did it, not just because of the incident with Harvey, but because of what he described as a "pattern of unacceptable behavior."
Brand called Knight "defiant and hostile" and said he had shown a "continued unwillingness" to work within the guidelines of the athletic department. He also said Knight violated the "zero-tolerance" conduct policy implemented in May.
"He did not fulfill the promises he gave me," Brand said, adding that Knight had the option of resigning but refused.
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