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FAU’s Final Four head coach reflects on lessons learned during his time under Bob Knight

Head coach Dusty May of the Florida Atlantic Owls talks to the media ahead of the 2023 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament Final Four semifinal games at NRG Stadium on March 31, 2023, in Houston. (Mitchell Layton/Getty Images)

BOCA RATON, Fla. (WISH) — Legendary Indiana University men’s basketball head coach Bob Knight had a big impact on many coaches across the country, past, and present.

One of those coaches is Florida Atlantic University head coach Dusty May, who led the Owls to their first-ever Final Four appearance this past March.

In a sense, May got his “start” at IU, where he served as a student-manager for the men’s basketball program from 1996-2000 under Knight.

“Just to be affiliated with him, the program he ran, is an honor,” said May.

News 8 Sports’ Andrew Chernoff talked with May on Thursday about the impact Knight had on his career. May said that there was “zero chance” he would be a college head coach right now if he didn’t have that experience under Knight.

“I don’t even know if i would have been able to get a full-time paid assistant or support staff position if it wasn’t for my experience working for the program and him,” said May.

After May’s tenure as an IU student-manager came to an end, he went to USC, where he was an administrative assistant/video coordinator from 2000-02, but he would return to Bloomington after that, serving in an administrative role for three seasons at Indiana before being named an assistant coach with Eastern Michigan (2005-06).

May understood the importance of IU basketball, and specifically Bob Knight, in the Hoosier State, having graduated from Eastern Greene High School.

He even joked with Chernoff that his varsity schedule wasn’t determined until the IU basketball schedule was released.

“Growing up in this state, his (Bob Knight) fingerprint was on everything,” May said.

Since his time in Indiana, May has gone on to be a coach at multiple schools. He formed relationships with so many across the country, but he still has a bond with many associated with Indiana. That’s why when the news broke on Wednesday that Knight had passed, May began getting many, many messages.

“It just shows how many people Coach Knight affected,” May said. “His legacy, and all the great memories we have for simply being associated with his greatness.”

May said that Knight’s “greatness” went well beyond the court.

“They (IU players) knew when they got into the real world, when they left IU, they were ready for what was next,” said May.

Knight died on Wednesday at the age of 83.