I recently had the pleasure of speaking with Coach Bobby Knight. He has fond memories of Pittsburgh. His great aunt took him to his first major league baseball game when he was 8 years old to see the Pirates play the Cardinals. That was 68 years ago.
When I asked the Coach about his involvement in politics, particularly our current race for the White House, he told me that when he attended Ohio State he studied History and Government and has always been interested in anything related to the two. With a passion for following politics he has recently concluded that he’d like to see us do away with the Republican and Democrat labels. This would be especially important when we consider the current presidential election, he said. He believes that the best person for the job should be elected — not a political group.
Coach Knight told me, “We have forgotten about winning. In this upcoming election we must be sure that we win.” Even though he has known Donald Trump for many years, he’s recently been giving Mr. Trump more attention than ever before. Considering what he already knew of Trump, and what he has observed over the past year, he believes Trump will be a most effective leader. Coach put it this way. “If we want the best pitcher, let’s get Bobby Feller. If want the best football player, let’s get Jimmy Brown, the best basketball player, let’s get Bill Russell. If we want the guy who can do the best job for the United States — let’s get Donald Trump.”
Coach Knight points out that Trump is not just a national figure, but an international figure as well. With business interests all over the world, he’s created job opportunities for both people here in the U.S. and globally. Knight points out that when conducting business on a scale that large, some things may not go quite as planned. Large projects tend to be plagued by the unexpected; from minor tweaks to even possibly major course corrections. Coach said that Trump “is a virtual genius at correcting problems. I think that is the most important ingredient that the U.S. can bring to the table.”
Because a coach understands how important it is to identify a problem or weakness and fix it on the fly, I asked Knight if he sees in Trump that kind of talent, and whether it could be applied to governance. He answered that “Whomever it was that we were playing, it could have been Michigan or Ohio State, anyone, I had to look at that team and maybe say this team has a very pressing defense, and for us to win we are going to have to beat that pressing defense. Or they may have a zone defense that they use and we would need to overcome the abilities of that zone defense. That’s problem solving. I learned at an early stage that the most important thing I could do for my players was to give them the tools necessary to beat their opponent. I believe that is what Donald Trump brings to the table.” Knight believes that Trump has a unique ability to problem solve, and that he can diagnose a situation quickly and accurately.
Because Knight believes that the next president will be inheriting innumerable problems, he said Trump’s unique talents will be critical to the nation’s recovery. “We’ve got to have someone that isn’t doing something for himself — but for America,” he said. He added that there is “No doubt Donald is a little rough around the edges” and then joked that Donald once asked of him: “What brings you to give me advice on being more even tempered?”
I don’t think anyone would argue the condition of Trump’s edges, but some of America’s greatest historical figures weren’t particularly polished. And isn’t that part of what sets us apart from the manicured predictability of the rest of Western civilization? We didn’t go from worst to first in a few hundred years by rejecting the rogues who dare to break the mold and venture beyond the current wisdom.
Coach believes in the game; believes in winning. He wouldn’t have become the accomplished coach he was if he didn’t believe in winning. That’s the kind of spirit we haven’t seen in recent years, and it is sorely needed when we consider the sorry legacy of our current administration.
The incoming president will be met with increasing deficits, economic challenges, entrenched unions, and corrupt bureaucrats. On top of all that, the next president faces the task of rebuilding a neglected military, and tackling immigration and national security issues. That’s a big plate to place before one man. We need a guy who won’t choke on large portions.
Coach Knight agrees. He said; “We need a tough-minded, intelligent person to get us back on track. Here is a guy who is extremely wealthy and successful. He can do anything he wants to do, he could sit back on his ass and just look at what’s happening.” Instead, Trump “wants to give his life to America.”