People are looking for an impossible answer, like the chicken-or-egg dilemma or the sound of one hand clapping. The answer people seek today is just as impossible, and pointless:
Who's worse, Mike Rice or Bob Knight?
How about that for an answer? Yes. Rice is worse than Knight. And Knight is worse than Rice. And both are terrible, awful examples of the corruptive power of power. Rice had it over his players at Rutgers. Knight had it over his players and damn near everyone else at Indiana. Both abused it.
Knight's the luckier of the two, because his reign of terror at Indiana played out mostly before the Internet and entirely before Twitter, which means he -- and more important, his bosses -- were able to fool themselves into thinking Knight's behavior was acceptable because they were in that cocoon at Indiana, not necessarily enveloped by Indiana fans but by Bob Knight fans. At times there is a difference.
Anyway, without Twitter, there was nobody to convince Indiana what it convinced the spineless worms who run Rutgers -- that a coach, a university employee, can't be monstrous to students and get away with it. The cowards who run Rutgers, president Robert Barchi and athletic director Tim Pernetti, were going to let Rice get away with it until Twitter got its hands on the story and went nuts. The volume we made, with tweets and retweets and stories that were tweeted and retweeted, broke through the cowardly cotton that Rutgers' leaders had used to stuff their ears.
The cowards at Indiana never faced such volume. Instead they were surrounded by Bob Knight sycophants who fooled the leadership at Indiana into thinking Knight was an acceptable man to be running a basketball program.
Great coach? Absolutely.
Great man? Not even close.
Knight's about as bad as I've ever seen, on the human being scale, as a head coach in Division I. Rice is somewhere near him on that scale. Which one is better? Which one is worse? They're both turds. Don't ask me which one is shinier.