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The Time Doug Blubaugh Pinned Bobby Knight to the Wall at Indiana

Bobby Knight lost his temper with Doug Blubaugh. It didn’t end well for him.



Bobby Knight is a legend in college basketball. Known for his success as a coach but more widely known for his hotheadedness and temper flare-ups in games.

Like the time he threw a chair.

And the time he choked a player.

One story involving his temper didn’t end well for him and it involved an Oklahoma State wrestling legend.

Doug Blubaugh wrestled at Oklahoma State in the 1950s. He was an NCAA champion in 1957 and won an Olympic gold in 1960 in Rome. In 1972 he became the wrestling coach at Indiana and coached there until his retirement in 1984.

I’d heard bits of this story before but the most descriptive one comes from a website called Orangebean, which covers Indiana news.

The story goes like this: One day the Indiana basketball team was practicing and Blubaugh, as coaches often do, came into the gym for a workout. He was taking a quiet, light jog around the perimeter of the gym when Knight took notice.

According to Orangebean, Knight shouted at Blubaugh to leave the gym. He didn’t give him the basic courtesy of just asking him or coming over to him to discuss it. In a very Bobby Knight fashion, he “shouted” at the Olympic Gold medalist to leave.

Blubaugh apparently broke from his jog and went straight to Knight. They stood toe-to-toe in the gym for a moment. Here’s how OrangeBean describes the rest of the incident.

Blubaugh stood just above five-feet-seven-inches. Bobby Knight stood six-foot-five. I doubt Blubaugh’s head came up to Bobby Knight’s chin. But that didn’t matter. Blubaugh also held rank as one of the best wrestlers in the world, and had an Olympic gold medal to prove it.

If you’ve ever met wrestlers, you should know they are level-headed and humble. The sport ingrains that attitude. I also believe it’s because they know they can literally drop anyone they meet, no matter how big or tough, in seconds. They spend years doing just that, over and over and over. Wrestlers are good dudes. Just don’t get on their bad side.

Bobby Knight did. In seconds, Doug Blubaugh had wrenched “The General” by the collar and slammed him, sputtering and squirming, against the far wall of Assembly Hall. Calmly, Doug Blubaugh explained he was IU’s wrestling coach and that Bobby Knight would never address him that way again. Ever. [OrangeBean]

According to the story, Knight agreed and never had any confrontation with Blubaugh again.

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