Three-time National Champion basketball coach Bobby Knight has died at the age of 83. Knight won the three titles and made five other Final Fours while at the University of Indiana. The legendary coach broke in with Army in 1965 before taking the Indiana job in 1971. He coached there until 2000 and wrapped up his career at Texas Tech from 2001-2008.
Knight’s website announced the news. It read: “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.”
Coach Knight was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1991 and the College Basketball Hall of Fame in 2006, shortly before calling it a career at Tech. After coaching, Knight became an outspoken and popular analyst for ESPN from 2008 to 2015.
The firebrand coach also had a number of controversies, which ultimately led to his firing from the University of Indiana. Best known for throwing a courtside chair among his on-the-court antics, Knight was accused of numerous physical confrontations while at Indiana.
The coach refused to step down and was fired, leading him to claim he never wanted to step foot on campus again. However, in 2020, shortly before Covid 19, he returned for a ceremony in his honor and received a thunderous ovation.
Ultimately, his temper on-court was overshadowed by his coaching ability and his success. Knight is widely regarded as one of the best coaches and tacticians ever. While not blessed with the Five-Star recruits of schools like Kentucky, North Carolina, and Duke, Knight was able to take what he had and mold them into scrappy, underdog winners.
His unique ability to motivate kids is likely what caused him to be fired at Indiana. The game changed, and the internet made his abrasive personality and penchant for raising his voice and using colorful language front page news.
Ultimately, none of this overshadowed his success as a coach. He went 902-371 over his storied career, giving him the sixth-most wins of any coach in Division I men’s college basketball history. Knight also went on to win a Gold Medal at the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles. The coach also only missed the big dance four times during his tenure at Indiana.
Coach Knight was also a player. He excelled at Ohio State, winning a National Championship in 1960. He also has the distinction of being one of only three people to play for and coach a national champion, joining coaching legends Joe B. Hall from Kentucky and legendary coach Dean Smith from North Carolina. He is also the only person to win a national title, the NIT, an Olympic gold medal, and a Pan-Am gold medal.
Knight’s legacy will live on, and his achievements will never be overshadowed despite the controversies. The college basketball world lost a legend. RIP, Coach Bobby Knight.
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