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“The Legend,” Coach Bob Knight, dies at 83

Bob Knight died on Wednesday at his Bloomington, Indiana, home after a long illness.

Donald Cherry



“The Legend,” Coach Bob Knight, dies at 83. According to his family, Bob Knight, the legendary basketball coach, died on Wednesday, after a long illness. He was 83.

On Wednesday night, Knight’s family announced the news. After having been ill for several years, he was hospitalized in April.

“It is with heavy hearts that we share that Coach Bob Knight passed away at his home in Bloomington surrounded by his family,” the statement said. “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.”


“The Legend” Begins

Robert Montgomery Knight was born on October 25, 1940 in Orrville, Ohio. He attended Orrville High School, where he excelled in basketball, baseball, and football. While at Ohio State, his teams had an overall record of 78-6. The Buckeyes won the national championship in 1960. Knight was 0-for-1 with one personal foul in a 75-55 title game win over California. He averaged 3.7 points as a sub that season. The Buckeyes earned the Big Ten title in all three of Knight’s seasons.

Knight went into coaching after his college career ended. His promotion to head coach followed the departure of Tates Locke, who had been an assistant coach with the Army.

The way he carried himself and his coaching roots at West Point earned him the title “The General.”

Larger-Than-Life College Hoops Coaching Career

Three national titles at Indiana highlighted Bob Knight’s Hall of Fame career.

Picture: Indiana University NCAA Basketball Championship banners. PHOTO: COURTESY OF: Bob Knight Instagram page featuring Bob Knight’s post: “You all didn’t come here to play, you came here to win.” (Dated December 12, 2022)

In 1965, Knight became the youngest Division I coach when he took over at Army at the age of 24. He made a name for himself at Indiana. At Indiana, he won a school-record 661 games and making the NCAA tournament 24 times in 29 seasons. Knight won his first NCAA championship in 1976, when Indiana went undefeated, a feat no team has matched since.

Knight spent six years (1965-71) at Army, going 102-50. He then moved to Indiana, where his Hoosiers went 662-239 from 1971 to 2000. He won national titles in 1976, 1981, and 1987 while wearing his trademark red sweater.

Six months after his firing from Indiana for “patterns of unacceptable behavior,” Knight joined Texas Tech as its basketball coach.

Knight’s firing by then-Indiana president Myles Brand remained unpopular in the state of Indiana, where Knight had a large following.

With Knight, winning was a result of a team outperforming its individual talent. Winning was a group of good to very good players sacrificing individual glory for group success. He was proud to say that his guys played for the name on the front of the jersey. In any case, he wouldn’t allow individual ones to be stitched on the back.


In 29 seasons, Knight won 20 or more games, compiling a career record of 902-371. He coached the United States Olympic team to gold in Los Angeles in 1984, the last American amateur team to win Olympic gold. And, unsurprisingly, it sparked debate. Knight retained Steve Alford, the captain of Knight’s last national championship team in 1987, while cutting future Hall of Famers Charles Barkley and John Stockton.

Tributes Pour In

“One of the things he said to our 1976 team, which I was fortunate enough to be a part of, was that you may never see another team like this again,” said Quinn Buckner, chair of the Indiana Board of Trustees. “Well, I don’t know that we will ever see another coach like him again.”

“Coach Knight … will forever be remembered as one of the top coaches in not only Texas Tech history but all of college basketball,” Texas Tech Athletics said in a statement. “He truly changed the game with not only his motion offense but his insistence that his teams be defined by their defense.

“His impact was felt off the court, too, as he was a profound supporter of student-athletes receiving a quality education, which was evident by his teams annually producing a near-perfect graduation rate. Coach Knight’s impact on our basketball program will forever be cherished as one of the greatest tenures in our history.”


Hall of Fame

Knight spent five decades competing against, and usually defeating, some of the game’s most illustrious names, including Adolph Rupp, Smith, and John Wooden in his early years, and Krzyzewski, Rick Pitino, and Roy Williams later in his career.

Knight won 902 games at Army (1965-1971), Indiana (1971-2000) and Texas Tech (2001-08). He won three NCAA men’s basketball championships with the Hoosiers, including coaching the sport’s most recent undefeated team in 1976.

The Basketball Hall of Fame inducted Knight in 1991. It was Knight who requested to not be renominated for the Hall of Fame in 1987 and compared the voters’ rejection to a “slap in the face.”

Knight’s wife Karen and sons Tim and Pat survive him.


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