Bob Knight Dies at 83; Hall of Fame CBB Coach Won 3 NCAA Titles with Indiana
Category: SportsVia: john-russell • 4 weeks ago • 3 comments
By: Timothy Rapp (Bleacher Report)
Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTTwitter LogoFeatured Columnist IVNovember 1, 2023 CommentsComment Bubble IconJoe Robbins/NBAE via Getty Images
Hall of Fame college basketball coach Bob Knight died on Wednesday. He was 83.
His family released the following statement:
"It is with heavy hearts that we share that Coach Bob Knight passed away at his home in Bloomington surrounded by his family. We are grateful for all the thoughts and prayers, and appreciate the continued respect for our privacy as Coach requested a private family gathering, which is being honored. We will continue to celebrate his life and remember him, today and forever as a beloved Husband, Father, Coach, and Friend."
Knight had stints at Army (1965-66 to 1970-71), Indiana (1971-72 to 1999-00) and Texas Tech (2001-02 to 2007-08) as a head coach, going 902-371 in his career. But he is most known for his time with the Hoosiers, when he prowled the sidelines in a red sweater and won three national championships, leading Indiana to the NCAA tournament in 24 of his 29 seasons.
NCAA March Madness @MarchMadnessMBB
Bob Knight has passed away at the age of 83.<br><br>1x NCAA Champion (player)<br>3x NCAA Champion (coach)<br>5x Final Four<br>11x Big Ten Champion<br>3x AP Coach of the Year<br>1x Naismith Coach of the Year<br>1991 Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame Inductee<br><br>A true legend. <a href="https://t.co/7GSDd1y3Ty">pic.twitter.com/7GSDd1y3Ty</a>
His teams were famous for being disciplined and hard-working, featuring high graduation rates, and he was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1991.
A number of tributes followed news of his death on Wednesday:
Tom Crean @TomCrean
Always a favorite picture of Bob Knight. Although we never got him back to <a href="https://twitter.com/IndianaMBB?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@IndianaMBB</a> to be honored on our watch, I was so thankful when he finally did return. We were always going to REVERE what he accomplished and who he accomplished it with. Our deepest condolences. <a href="https://t.co/sGCKnHvOO9">pic.twitter.com/sGCKnHvOO9</a>
Mike Greenberg @Espngreeny
Bob Knight was everything you thought he was. Brilliant and demanding, cantankerous and huge of heart, irreverent and very funny. He was also inarguably on the short list of greatest coaches in the history of American sports. Rest in peace, Coach. You will never be forgotten. <a href="https://t.co/ig2L7tkBPr">pic.twitter.com/ig2L7tkBPr</a>
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Jeff Goodman @GoodmanHoops
Bob Knight has passed away at the age of 83. <br><br>Hall of Fame coach, one of the best to ever do it. <br><br>RIP. <a href="https://t.co/OQOkdYr2iX">https://t.co/OQOkdYr2iX</a>
Dick Vitale @DickieV
So sorry to learn of the passing of Bob Knight who was so good in his prime teaching how to play the game.Always loved talking hoops with him over the <a href="https://t.co/HEyBP2IlxZ">https://t.co/HEyBP2IlxZ</a> heart goes out to Karen the love of his life & his family & friends .<a href="https://twitter.com/espn?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@ESPN</a> App <a href="https://t.co/qAXMCWliJc">https://t.co/qAXMCWliJc</a>
Dan Wetzel @DanWetzel
I was fortunate to have gotten know (and attempt to cover) Bob Knight. He was brilliant. He was difficult. He was charismatic. He was complicated. On an American Original: <a href="https://t.co/wLjo6yozVp">https://t.co/wLjo6yozVp</a>
Dick Weiss @HoopsWeiss
rip coach bob knight. one of the great technical minds in college basketball. love him or hate him, he was brilliant teacher at Army and was the face of Indiana basketball for three decades, winning 3 nat titles and going unbeaten in 1976.
scott pianowski @scott_pianowski
I have a lot of thoughts about the passing of Bob Knight. Like so many of the most fascinating people, he was a contradiction. He stood for many decent things, but he also stood for some policies that were hard to accept. Undeniably brilliant. Stubborn to a fault.
Jay Bilas @JayBilas
RIP to the legendary Bob Knight. He was an American original. I had the honor of knowing him well, and while he wasn't for everyone, I always truly liked, respected and admired him. As he once said of Henry Iba, of all the shadows cast in the game, his was the longest. <a href="https://t.co/J3qcCLTSIP">pic.twitter.com/J3qcCLTSIP</a>
David Kaplan @thekapman
I'm saddened to learn about the death of my friend Bob Knight. While he was a complicated man he stood for a lot of the good things in college sports. His players graduated. His programs competed for titles. I got to know him very well + he was always great to me. RIP Coach. ❤️❤️
His coaching career was not without controversy, however.
He was accused of punching a policeman at the 1979 Pan American Games, in San Juan, Puerto Rico, and was convicted of misdemeanor assault in absentia. He reportedly never returned to Puerto Rico.
In 1985, he infamously threw a chair onto the court during a game against Purdue, irate at both a foul called against Indiana and the subsequent technical foul he received for protesting. He was ejected and suspended one game by the Big Ten.
During a 1992 NCAA tournament practice, he brought a bullwhip he said was given to him by the players and mock-whipped Black player Calbert Cheaney. The Albuquerque chapter of the NAACP said the action sent a "terrible message" and Black politicians called for punishment against Knight.
He also reportedly head-butted Sherron Wilkerson in 1994 while berating him during a timeout, though Knight said that the head-butt was unintentional.
In 2000, CNN aired a report that appeared to show Knight choking player Neil Reed back in 1997. That earned him a $30,000 fine, three-game suspension and a "zero tolerance policy" for future altercations, which he allegedly broke later that year after being accused of grabbing a student's arm during a disagreement. He was fired by the school after that alleged incident.
Knight was a complicated and controversial figure. But his impact on the game of basketball was undeniable, with Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski—who played under Knight at Army—saying in 2008 that "outside of my immediate family, no single person has had a greater impact on my life than Coach Knight."
As for his legacy... well, Knight wasn't particularly worried about what anybody else thought.
"When my time on earth is gone, and my activities here are passed," he said in 1994, "I want they bury me upside down, and my critics can kiss my ass."