Bob Knight, a prominent and influential figure in the annals of college basketball coaching, passed away on Wednesday at the age of 83 in his Bloomington, Indiana residence. Knight’s family announced his death on social media, saying they were grateful for the thoughts and prayers and asked for privacy. Knight had been suffering from dementia and other health issues in recent years.
After 42 years of teaching, Knight worked at the Army, Indiana, and Texas Tech. As of now, he is fifth all-time in wins with 902, which was a record when he retired in 2008. Three NCAA titles (1976, 1981, and 1987) and five trips to the Final Four were won by Indiana under his direction. During the 1984 Olympics, he led the U.S. men's team to victory.
Knight was known for his unique motion attack, tough defense, and high graduation rate among his players. He never got in big trouble with the NCAA, and he often gave some of his pay to school projects. He got a lot of awards and honors, such as the Clair Bee Coach of the Year Award in 2002 and the Naismith College Coach of the Year Award in 1987. The Basketball Hall of Fame made him a member in 1991, and the College Basketball Hall of Fame did the same in 2006.
Knight's reputation was also harmed by his bad temper, fights, and scandals. He was famous for losing his cool on the court. In 1985, he threw a chair across the court during a game, and in 1994, he hit one of his players over the head.
Likewise, he was charged with abusing his players, officials, and media members physically and emotionally. In Puerto Rico, he hit a police officer, choked one of his players during practice, and is said to have shot a friend while hunting.
The former late coach had a rough time at Indiana until 2000 when the university fired him for breaking a zero-tolerance policy that was put in place after a former player accused him of attack. Knight later sued the university for firing him without a good reason, but the case was thrown out.
Knight then became a coach at Texas Tech, where he took the Red Raiders to the NCAA tournament four times in seven years. He quit his job in 2008 and gave it to his son Pat.
Despite his controversies, Knight remained a revered figure among many basketball fans, especially in Indiana, where he returned for the first time in 20 years in February 2020 to a standing ovation from the crowd. Knight also had a lasting impact on many of his former players and assistant coaches, who went on to have successful careers of their own. Among them are Mike Krzyzewski, Steve Alford, Isiah Thomas, and Randy Wittman.
In addition, he was widely regarded as one of the greatest coaches of all time, who changed the game with his strategy, his intensity, and his passion. Knight was also a complex and controversial personality, who inspired loyalty and admiration as well as criticism and resentment. He leaves behind a legacy that will be remembered and debated for generations to come.
Knight experienced two marriages during his lifetime. His initial marriage was to Nancy Lou Falkenstein in 1963, resulting in the birth of two sons, Tim Knight and Pat Knight, who later pursued coaching careers like their father. However, Knight and Nancy went through a divorce in 1985.
In 1988, Knight entered into his second marriage with Karen Vieth Edgar. Karen, a former Oklahoma high school basketball coach and a widow with three children from her prior marriage, shared her life with Knight until his passing.