Bob Knight, one of the most legendary coaches in the history of college basketball, has died at the age of 83.
In a statement, Knight’s family said that he passed away at his home 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,’ the statement read. ‘We will continue to celebrate his life and remember him, today and forever as a beloved Husband, Father, Coach, and Friend.’
Knight is probably most well known for his outspoken nature and his volatility both on and off the court – in play and in his interactions with people.
In April 2016, he joined former President Donald Trump on stage at a rally in Indiana after endorsing him in his ultimately successful run at the White House.
Bob Knight, one of the greatest coaches in college basketball history, has died at 83
Knight endorsed President Donald Trump on his run to the White House back in 2016
Knight guided the Indiana Hoosiers to three national championships, in 1976, 1981 and 1987
Knight is pictured sitting in the Hoosiers’ locker room after a game in Bloomington in 1973
In basketball, he will go down as the greatest coach in the history of the storied program at Indiana University – leading the Hoosiers to three national titles.
Tributes immediately began to pour in for ‘Coach Knight’ on social media
Knight was born in Orrville, Ohio and went to college at Ohio State University from 1959-1962.
He played on the basketball team there and helped the Buckeyes win the 1960 national title. Knight would also feature on the 1961 and 1962 teams that lost in back-to-back title games – both times to the University of Cincinnati.
After his playing career had ended, Knight would go into the military before joining coaching ranks – beginning with the team at the United States Military Academy (West Point).
With Army, he would win 102 games and would coach a young Mike Krzyzewski – who would go on to coach Duke and become the all-time winningest head coach in college basketball.
Knight chats to host Jay Leno on an episode of The Tonight Show in New York in April 2002
Knight chastises player Daryl Thomas during a game against Wisconsin in February, 1984
A rare photo inside the locker room shows Knight talking to his players in Philadelphia
Knight (right) hugs Mike Krzyzewski – Coach K – after the Duke man beat his winning record
Before Indiana, Knight (center) coached Army – he is pictured with Bob Cousy (left) of Boston College and Ray Mears (right) of Tennessee, in the late 60s
After seven years at Army, Knight would move on to Indiana and coached there for nearly three decades.
He reached five Final Fours and would to to three national title games – winning all three.
Knight’s Hoosiers beat Michigan in 1976, North Carolina in 1981, and Syracuse in 1987.
During his time there, Knight became as known for his temper as he was known for his success. He famously threw a plastic chair across the court during a game against Purdue that cemented his name in college basketball lore.
The chair became a running gag of Knight’s – with the coach once joking that he tossed the chair because he saw an old lady on the opposite sideline and he threw it so she could sit down.
Knight’s temper ended up catching up with him in 2000 after the CNN Sports Illustrated network ran a story detailing how former player Neil Reed claimed that the coach had choked him during a practice in 1997.
The coach denied the claims, but the network later ran footage appearing to show Knight placing his hands on Reed’s neck.
Fans hold a sign welcoming Knight back to the basketball arena Bloomington in February 2020
Indiana University president Myles Brand said that he had a ‘zero tolerance’ policy when it came to Knight’s behavior. When a separate incident occurred involving Knight grabbing a student by the arm, Brand asked Knight to resign. When he refused, Brand fired him.
The resulting outcry from Indiana students and alumni resulted in Brand being burned in effigy and round-the-clock coverage in the national media.
Knight took a year off from coaching before joining Texas Tech in 2001. He continued to coach there until 2008, when he officially announced his retirement.
In addition to his time in college basketball, Knight also coached Team USA at the 1984 Summer Olympics, winning the gold medal.
He was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1991 and his 902 career wins is good for fourth most in the men’s game all-time behind Krzyzewski, former Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim, and former Kansas and North Carolina coach Roy Williams.