Q&A with Stew Robinson
Stew Robinson was Coach Knight's starting point guard during the "Brink" season. He teamed with Steve Alford to make one of the most formidable backcourts in Indiana hoops history.
A steadying influence on the floor, especially amidst the swirl of Big Ten combat, Robinson's presence was equally valuable in the locker room. Stew prided himself on keeping his teammates loose, making them laugh even during his team's darkest times.
Now an assistant coach at Plattsburgh State in New York, Robinson reflects on his run under The General and his own Season on the Brink.
Q: What are some of your fondest memories from your career at Indiana?
Robinson: "Well obviously, the "Brink Season" as they call it, sticks out because of everything around it - the book and now the movie. But now, honestly, there are some things that might stand out even more. We took a trip around the world before that season, playing games and seeing the sights. That was really good for us, there was a lot of bonding during that trip that helped us through that last season.
"Also, for me, I'd have to say one of my top memories was playing against Michael Jordan. I saw you guys put in my bio that I was probably best known for being one of the four starters Coach Knight benched in that Illinois game. (He laughs) Come on baby, I scored 14 points against Michael Jordan!"
Q: How do you think Coach Knight will be portrayed in the movie?
Robinson: "Well here's the thing, obviously Brian Dennehy's a great actor, but Coach Knight's one of a kind. I'm not sure anyone can really capture Knight. As mean as that man can look, he can just as easily be just as compassionate. And that's the unbelievable challenge of trying to capture Coach."
Q: How was your relationship with Coach Knight?
Robinson: "I love Coach Knight. Let me tell you something, everything he says and does? It's all part of his mental game to make you a better ball player and to make the team better. It's just a mental game. If you're the kind of guy that let's words hurt you, then you're done before you even start.
"It's absurd to think any of us were abused mentally or physically. Absurd. We were grown men. When you go to play for Coach Knight, you know how it's going to be beforehand. If you know deep down inside you can't take it, why even sign up to begin with? All these people saying things about badly the players are treated? Come on. We were all student athletes at one of the greatest universities in the world. Our lives were just like any other students.
"Let me tell you a story about Coach Knight. When my senior season ended, I was still a few credits short of what I needed to graduate from IU. I had to pay for those last credits on my own. I never said a word about it to Coach Knight or the other coaches, I just went to class. Then one day, I guess Coach Knight heard about it and he called me up and said 'Robinson, come see me in my office.'
"I went down there and he wrote me a check, out of his own pocket, to cover the rest of my tuition for that year so that I could get my degree. He didn't have to do that, but that's the kind of person Coach Knight is. And that's also the stuff you never hear about."
Q: How do you feel about Patrick Williams, a first time actor playing you in the movie?
Robinson: "(Laughs) Oh I don't know. Just as long as he's funny, he'll be alright. He definitely has to be funny. It wouldn't hurt if he could play a little, too.
You know, I'm still available if you guys want me to do a small partů"
Past Q & A's