Referee got an exclusive interview with Ted Valentine, the referee whose run-in with Indiana basketball coach Bob Knight featured discord on the court as well as in the officials’ locker room.
Valentine described in detail the confrontations that led to Knight receiving three technical fouls as well as a halftime argument with crewmate Ed Hightower in the officials’ locker room. The disagreements stemmed from Valentine’s feeling he got no support from Hightower and the third crewmember, Tom O’Neill, and was left to discipline Knight by himself.
Three weeks after the game, the Big Ten announced that it had censured Valentine for improperly calling the second technical foul on Knight. Valentine wasn’t allowed to work non-conference games involving Big Ten teams during the 1998-99 season.
O’Neill shared his recollections of the events, but Hightower turned down opportunities to present his side.
Referee interviewed Valentine in his West Virginia home more than a year after the incident. Yet it was obvious he had been unable to purge it from his memory. During the interview, Valentine held a golf club, whose grip he repeatedly and vigorously wrung with his hands as if it were the neck of an enemy.