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Basketball teaching nice Bob Knight dies at 83

ESPN News Services Nov 1, 2023, 06:44 PM ET Bob Knight, whose Hall of Fame career was highlighted by three national titles at Indiana — one capping an undefeated season not since matched — and countless on-court outbursts, has died. He was 83. Knight’s family made the announcement Wednesday night. He was hospitalized with an

Basketball teaching nice Bob Knight dies at 83

  • ESPN Information Companies

Nov 1, 2023, 06:44 PM ET

Bob Knight, whose Corridor of Fame profession was highlighted by three nationwide titles at Indiana — one capping an undefeated season not since matched — and numerous on-court outbursts, has died. He was 83.

Knight’s household made the announcement Wednesday evening. He was hospitalized with an sickness in April and had been sick for a number of years.

“It’s with heavy hearts that we share that Coach Bob Knight handed away at his residence in Bloomington surrounded by his household,” the assertion mentioned. “We’re grateful for all of the ideas and prayers, and respect the continued respect for our privateness as Coach requested a personal household gathering, which is being honored.”

Knight turned the youngest coach at a Division I faculty in 1965 when he broke in at Army at 24. However he made his mark at Indiana, together with successful a school-record 661 video games and reaching the NCAA match 24 instances in 29 seasons. Knight’s first NCAA title got here in 1976 when Indiana went undefeated, a feat no staff has achieved since.

“One of many issues that he mentioned to our 1976 staff, which I used to be lucky sufficient to be part of, was that you could be by no means see one other staff like this once more,” Indiana College board of trustees chair Quinn Buckner mentioned in an announcement. “Properly, I do not know that we’ll ever see one other coach like him once more.”

Knight received 20 or extra video games in a season 29 instances, compiling a profession document of 902-371.

In 1984, he coached the U.S. Olympic staff to a gold medal in Los Angeles, the final American newbie staff to say Olympic gold. And, to no shock, it got here with controversy. Knight stored Steve Alford, the chief of Knight’s final nationwide championship staff in 1987, on his squad whereas chopping the likes of future Corridor of Famers Charles Barkley and John Stockton.

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“I’m so blessed that he noticed one thing in me as a basketball participant,” Mike Woodson, former Hoosiers participant and Indiana’s present coach, mentioned in an announcement. “He influenced my life in methods I might by no means repay. As he did with all of his gamers, he at all times challenged me to get probably the most out of myself as a participant and extra importantly, as an individual. His document as a basketball coach speaks for itself. He can be remembered as one of many biggest ever.”

Nicknamed “The Normal,” Knight was ultimately compelled out at Indiana in 2000 for violating a “zero tolerance” conduct coverage by grabbing the arm of a freshman pupil whom he mentioned greeted him by his final title. It was the ultimate transgression on an extended checklist, which included his most notorious incident — throwing a chair throughout a Purdue recreation — and accusations of quite a few bodily confrontations. Essentially the most notable concerned Knight apparently choking participant Neil Reed in a follow in 1997.

Knight then left to grow to be the basketball coach at Texas Tech in 2001, six months after being fired by Indiana for what faculty officers there known as a “sample of unacceptable conduct.”

In Knight’s six full years at Texas Tech, he led the Purple Raiders to 5 20-win seasons, a primary on the faculty. Knight handed former North Carolina coach Dean Smith because the then-winningest Division I males’s coach Jan. 1, 2007, getting profession win No. 880. To rejoice the milestone, Knight selected the music “My Means” by Frank Sinatra, a mantra for a way he navigated his private {and professional} worlds.

Again then, Knight defined why “My Means” was so becoming.

“I’ve merely tried to do what I feel is greatest,” Knight mentioned. “Regrets? Positive. Similar to the music. I’ve regrets. I want I might have carried out issues higher at instances. I want I might have had a greater reply, a greater method, at instances. However similar to he mentioned, I did it my method, and after I look again on it, I do not suppose my method was all that dangerous.”

Knight resigned as Texas Tech’s basketball coach in the course of the 2008-09 season, his forty second yr as a head coach, and walked away from school basketball. He later labored as a school basketball analyst for ESPN.

“Coach Knight … will endlessly be remembered as one of many high coaches in not solely Texas Tech historical past however all of faculty basketball,” Texas Tech Athletics mentioned in an announcement. “He really modified the sport with not solely his movement offense however his insistence that his groups be outlined by their protection.

“His impression was felt off the court docket, too, as he was a profound supporter of student-athletes receiving a high quality training, which was evident by his groups yearly producing a near-perfect commencement fee. Coach Knight’s impression on our basketball program will endlessly be cherished as one of many biggest tenures in our historical past.”

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What he did and the way he did it made Knight a legend. Nonetheless, the affect and self-discipline he delivered to teaching made him particular.

“We misplaced one of many biggest coaches within the historical past of basketball at the moment. Clearly, he was one among a sort,” mentioned former Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski, who performed for Knight at Military and surpassed his mentor because the winningest Division I school basketball coach in 2011. “Coach Knight recruited me, mentored me and had a profound impression on my profession and in my life. This can be a large loss for our sport, and our household is deeply saddened by his passing.”

Robert Montgomery Knight was born Oct. 25, 1940, in Massillon, Ohio, and was a prep basketball, baseball and soccer star at Orrville Excessive College. Whereas a participant at Ohio State, his groups compiled an general document of 78-6. The Buckeyes received the nationwide title in 1960 (Knight was 0-for-1 with one private foul in a 75-55 win over California within the title recreation and averaged 3.7 factors as a sub that season) and captured Huge Ten titles throughout all three of Knight’s seasons.

After his school profession ended, he went into teaching; he was an Military assistant when he was elevated to go coach, succeeding Tates Locke.

Knight coached from 1965 to 1971 at Military, going 102-50. He then moved to Indiana, the place his Hoosiers went 662-239 from 1971 to 2000; wearing his trademark crimson sweater, he received nationwide titles there in 1976, 1981 and 1987.

Knight spent 5 many years competing towards and normally beating among the recreation’s most revered names — Adolph Rupp, Smith and John Picket within the early years; Krzyzewski, Rick Pitino and Roy Williams in later years.

“He was a man I idolized after I received right here [in 1983] as a result of Bobby Knight was the person,” Michigan State coach Tom Izzo mentioned. “He handled me nice, and he helped me. I want individuals knew what a fantastic coronary heart that he had. He was a distinct dude, however for those who wanted some assist, he would reply the bell.

“The sport has misplaced an icon.”

Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr, chatting with reporters earlier than his staff’s recreation Wednesday evening, recalled his first encounter with the flamable teaching big.

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“We bumped into one another, in 1986, I used to be taking part in on this planet championship. He was doing tv commentary,” Kerr defined. “We had misplaced a recreation, and he got here to our follow and pulled me apart and principally went on a tirade. I had by no means met him earlier than. … He mentioned, ‘I need you to take these bleeping bleep teammates of yours and bleep bleep and inform them to bleep bleep.’ And I mentioned, ‘Sure, sir, Coach Knight.’ Then I went to the gamers, and I mentioned, ‘Hey, Coach Knight simply inspired us to play nicely tonight!’ And that was it. He was terrifying, I am not going to lie.”

Knight was elected and inducted into the Basketball Corridor of Fame in 1991. Beforehand, Knight had requested to not be renominated to the Corridor of Fame, calling the voters’ rejection of him in 1987 a “slap within the face.”

He was a fancy man and had a prolonged document of outbursts through the years. He was charged and later convicted for hitting a policeman in Puerto Rico, he headbutted Indiana participant Sherron Wilkerson whereas screaming at him on the bench, he was accused of wrapping his fingers round a participant’s neck and he allegedly kicked his personal son. (Knight claimed he really kicked the chair his son sat on.)

He additionally gave a mock whipping to Calbert Cheaney, a Black Indiana participant, throughout a 1992 follow for the NCAA West Regional, offending a number of Black leaders. Knight denied any racial connotations and famous the bullwhip was given to him by the gamers.

However Knight by no means broke NCAA guidelines. He at all times had a excessive commencement fee. And he gave his Texas Tech wage again a number of years after he arrived in Lubbock as a result of he did not consider he’d earned it.

Knight’s firing by then-Indiana president Myles Model remained an unpopular one within the state of Indiana, the place Knight nonetheless had a large number of supporters.

Indiana College officers tried through the years to fix fences with Knight, however he steadfastly refused all makes an attempt by the college, ex-players and followers to make peace, and he wouldn’t take part in any IU actions.

He skipped staff reunions and even declined to attend his induction into the college’s athletic Corridor of Fame in 2009, saying he did not need his presence to detract from different class members.

That, nonetheless, all modified in recent times.

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The thaw started in earnest in 2019, when he made a shock look at an Indiana baseball recreation. In July, he purchased a home 3 miles from the basketball enviornment in Bloomington.

And in February 2020, he lastly returned to Meeting Corridor for an Indiana-Purdue matchup. He was met with roars of approval from the sold-out crowd, together with dozens of former gamers.

Knight walked in together with his son Pat. Knight hugged Isiah Thomas. He was assisted into the world by Buckner. And Knight reveled within the second, pumping his fist, pretending to direct Scott Might in a follow drill and even main followers in a refrain of, “De-fense, de-fense.”

“I used to be standing there, and he was Coach Knight,” recalled former participant Randy Wittman, who had a key position within the reunion. “It was like he hadn’t left that locker room. The phrases he gave to these gamers earlier than they went out on the ground, it was fabulous.”

Knight is survived by his spouse, Karen, and sons, Tim and Pat.

The Related Press contributed to this report.

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