Busting Brackets

Legendary Hall of Fame basketball coach Bob Knight dead at 83

Bob Knight, college basketball, 1940-2023
Bob Knight, college basketball, 1940-2023 /

A Hall of Fame college basketball coach who recently celebrated his birthday, Bob Knight passed away at the age of 83 on Wednesday afternoon. Known for his fiery demeanor and dynamic coaching ability, he was a legend of the game of basketball and won’t soon be forgotten.

Born in northeastern Ohio back in 1940, Knight grew up in the state and committed to Ohio State back in the late 50’s. Long before he got into coaching, Knight had a solid and successful playing career, as the Buckeyes would reach the national title game three years in a row. He helped Ohio State win the national championship in 1960 before falling in the title game to Cincinnati in each of the next two years.

Immediately after he graduated from Ohio State he got into coaching, taking an assistant’s job at the high school level close to his hometown. After just one year in the high school game, he enlisted in the Army, soon becoming an assistant for the Black Knights’ basketball program. While serving in the military for the next six years, he was promoted to head coach in 1965.

Promoted at just age 24, he was one of the youngest collegiate head coaches in memory and did fine work with the Black Knights, leading Army to four trips to the NIT in the next six years. During that time he also coached future Hall of Famer Mike Krzyzewski.

In 1971, Knight accepted the head coaching position at Indiana, taking over a program that had a decent history but had been struggling in recent years. Under Knight’s leadership, the Hoosiers would be elevated into one of the very best basketball programs in the nation for the next two decades.

He’d take the Hoosiers to the Final Four in just his second season at the helm, the first of five trips he’d make while at Indiana. He coached a number of legendary Hoosiers, including Steve Alford, Scott May, and Isiah Thomas, and would lead the program to three national championships. He remains one of just six coaches to accomplish that feat.

Bob Knight left a complicated legacy at Indiana

After twenty-nine prolific years leading the Hoosiers, Knight was dismissed in 2000 after allegations of improper behavior towards his players which led to a long absence from Bloomington. Regardless, Knight authored the most impressive era of success in Indiana basketball history and would return to the campus with a warm greeting before his passing.

That was not however the end of his coaching career, as Knight would sit out the following season before accepting the head coaching job at Texas Tech in 2001. While his time in Lubbock was far less impressive, Knight took the Red Raiders to four NCAA Tournaments in six and a half seasons, with the program experiencing far more success than beforehand.

He stepped away from coaching in February 2008, turning over the Texas Tech program to his son Pat. He had formerly coached the US to gold medals in the 1984 Olympics and the Pan American Games a few years prior and clearly stands alone as Indiana’s finest head coach.

Certainly an embracive personality, Knight is perhaps most famous for throwing a chair across the court during a game back in 1985. He was often criticized for his bombastic personality, but it’s part of what made him who he was: one of the legends of college basketball.

Throughout all the controversy and other happenings, there’s no question that Knight was one of the best. He was elected to both the Basketball Hall of Fame and College Basketball Hall of Fame, owned four national championship rings, and made a certain impact on this sport. Knight may be gone, but the memories and the stories about him will still be told for years to come.