Basketball icon Bobby Knight, renowned for his storied career as a coach and his fiery on-court demeanor, has passed away at the age of 83. Knight’s family made the announcement, revealing that he had been grappling with illness since April and had been in deteriorating health for a number of years.
A pivotal figure in the world of college basketball, Knight achieved immense success during his tenure at Indiana University. His coaching legacy includes three national titles, with the 1976 season standing out as an unparalleled achievement, as his Indiana team completed an undefeated season—a feat yet to be matched.
Fondly nicknamed “The General,” Knight broke into coaching as the youngest Division I school coach at Army in 1965, taking the helm at just 24 years old. However, he etched his name into the annals of basketball history at Indiana, where he secured an astounding 661 victories—a school record—and guided his teams to the NCAA tournament an impressive 24 times in 29 seasons.
Knight’s first NCAA championship was in 1976, and he continued to make his mark on the game, often noted for his animated courtside presence and his ability to produce winning teams.
Despite his coaching prowess, Knight was no stranger to controversy. He was ultimately ousted from Indiana University in 2000 due to repeated behavioral violations, which included a highly publicized incident in which he grabbed the arm of a freshman student. This dismissal marked the end of his storied tenure at the school, but Knight would later make his mark at Texas Tech, where he took over as the head coach in 2001.
At Texas Tech, Knight continued to achieve success, with five 20-win seasons—a first for the school. He reached a significant milestone on January 1, 2007, surpassing Dean Smith as the winningest Division I men’s coach with career win number 880. To commemorate this achievement, Knight famously selected Frank Sinatra’s “My Way” as a reflection of his personal and professional approach.
Knight’s departure from coaching came in the middle of the 2008-09 season, marking the end of a remarkable 42-year coaching career. He later transitioned to a role as a college basketball analyst for ESPN.
His impact on the game was profound, and his influence extended beyond the court. Bobby Knight was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1991 and played a significant role in shaping the careers of countless players and coaches.
While his career was marked by both triumphs and controversies, Bobby Knight’s imprint on the world of basketball remains indelible.
Knight was a friend of former President Donald Trump, and revered as one of the greatest basketball coaches in the history of the sport.
The 45th President of the United States Donald Trump commented on Knight’s passing.
The World just lost an incredible person, the Great Bobby Knight. He was not just an award-winning and record-breaking Coach, he was loyal to his Players, to his State, and to our Country—Tough as nails, but a big heart. When he Endorsed me, it was like the whole Great World of Indiana opened up happy and wide. Our hearts and prayers are with his wonderful wife Karen and Sons, Tim and Pat—Their Father was a great man!
Coach Knight amassed an impressive coaching record, achieving 902 victories over 42 seasons at Army, Indiana, and Texas Tech, with 371 losses, for an outstanding winning percentage of .709.