Legendary Indiana University-Bloomington basketball coach Bob Knight passed away Wednesday, his family announced. The 83-year old had been hospitalized earlier this year with an illness amid reported declining health in recent years.
Also known as “The General”, Knight was notorious for his intense compassion and dedication to getting the best out of his teams.
Since first becoming an NCAA Division I head basketball coach in 1965 for Army, he not only set the standard for coaching players on the court, but also as students off of it. Long before the present day of “one and done” recruits leaving campus early to turn pro, Knight had nearly a perfect graduation rate for all of his teams and never compromised his work ethic or discipline.
Perhaps his greatest legacy is the 1976 Hoosier team that went undefeated with a perfect 32-0 record, earning Knight his first of three championships while coaching in Bloomington for 29 seasons. To this day, no other coach or team has matched such a feat.
Often forgotten, however, is that he led the Hoosiers the previous season to a perfect 31-0 record up until losing to Kentucky in the Elite Eight. The fact he was able to keep his team resilient to get the job done a year later is an absolute testament to his will and desire.
In addition to his successful collegiate coaching career, Knight also earned a gold medal with Team U.S.A. at the 1984 Olympics.
After his time at IU following his dismissal as head coach in September 2000, in which he finished with a 662-239 record, Knight became head coach at Texas Tech University in March 2001.
Posting a 138–82 record over seven seasons, he led the Red Raiders to five 20-win seasons, the first time in program history, and retired as the NCAA’s all time winningest Division I head basketball coach in 2008. This title eventually and fittingly went to former Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski, who played as a point guard at Army under Knight from 1966 to 1969.
As Knight returned back to Assembly Hall for the first time in nearly two decades in February 2020, it provided some overdue closure, but his legacy will always span back several generations through present day with current IU basketball head coach Mike Woodson, who played for Knight from 1976 to 1980.
While he will be remembered for many storylines, from well-deserved glory to his notable quarrels with the media and administration, there’s no disputing the success of Bobby Knight, regardless of your alma mater or favorite college team.
Thank you, coach Knight, for the memories and legacy left behind for the Hoosier state and its love for the game of basketball.
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