On Wednesday, legendary former basketball head coach Bob Knight died at the age of 83. Knight won three national championships at Indiana, winning titles in 1976, 1982, and 1987.
Knight was born in Massillon, Ohio and grew up in Orrville, Ohio. He was a standout basketball player for Ohio State from 1959-62, where he won a national championship as a player in 1960.
Basketball coach Bob Knight has died at the age of 83, his family announced. pic.twitter.com/89mURdyDkv
— ESPN (@espn) November 1, 2023
Knight started his coaching career at Cuyahoga High School in Ohio for one year, then he served in the United States Army from 1963-69 in active duty and the reserves.
While serving, he accepted the job as head coach of the Army in 1964. He served from 1964-1971, and during that time he coached a future college basketball coaching legend in Duke’s Mike Kyrzeweski.
Knight then served as the Indiana head coach, where he spent 29 years. At IU, he compiled a 662-239 record and won 11 Big Ten regular season championships, won Henry Iba awards, (1975, 1987), and won a Naismith College Coach of the Year Award (1987).
Knight is known for his military coaching style, and outbursts with officials and the media off the court. On the court, he was the godfather of the motion offense and his tenacious “man-to-man” defense. He also emphasizes players achieving a four-year degree from the schools he was coaching as 80 percent of his players completed their bachelor’s degrees, which is higher than the Division I average of 42 percent.
He was controversial. He was stubborn. He was determined to always do it his way, mostly because his way worked for him for a long time. Bob Knight was all of those things and many more, but he was also one of the greatest coaches of all-time. And no one can deny that fact. RIP.
— Mike J. Asti (@MikeAsti11) November 1, 2023
Knight was inducted in the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1991, and the College Basketball Hall of Fame in 2006.
In 2000, CNN Sports Illustrated ran a piece on Knight that showed a video of him choking former Indiana player Neil Reid in 1997. As a result, Indiana president Myles Brand instituted a “zero tolerance” policy towards Knight. More controversies followed. As a result, Indiana fired Knight.
After taking a year off from coaching, he was hired by Texas Tech to be its head coach. In seven seasons, Knight compiled a 138-82 record, where he took Texas Tech to four NCAA tournament appearances. His best result came in 2005 when he took the Red Raiders to the Sweet 16. He resigned midway through the 2008 season to cease the program to his son, Pat.
Knight was a college basketball analyst and broadcaster for ESPN until 2015, eventually making amends with Indiana in 2020.
Knight spearheaded the most recent undefeated championship season in 1976. He led the Hoosiers to a 32-0 record, defeating Michigan 86-68.
Knight is survived by his wife Karen and his sons Tim and Pat.