|Date of birth|| October 25, 1940|
|Place of birth||Massillon, Ohio|
|Career highlights and awards|
|3x NCAA Championship (w/ Indiana)|
6x Big Ten Coach of the Year
Naismith College coach of the Year (1987)
Basketball Hall of Fame (1991)
|Basketball Hall of Fame (as Coach)|
Robert Montgomery "Bob" Knight (born October 25,1940) is a retired American college basketball coach. His son Pat Knight is currently coaching the Texas Tech Red Raiders. With a career record of 902-371, Knight has won more NCAA Division I men's basketball games than any other head coach. Tennessee women's coach Pat Summitt holds the overall Division I record.
Knight has won three NCAA Tournament Championships (1976, 1981, 1987), one NIT Tournament Championship (1979), and led the U.S. Olympic basketball team to a Gold Medal (1984). This is considered collegiate basketball's "Triple Crown." Knight also led Indiana to 11 Big Ten Championships, and is a four time National Coach of the Year (1975, 1976, 1987, 1989).
Knight is one of NCAA Division I college basketball's most controversial coaches because of his behavior. He has thrown a chair across the court during a game, been arrested for physical assault and has displayed a combative nature during television interviews. However, he is simultaneously commended for running clean programs (no Knight program has ever been sanctioned by the NCAA for recruiting violations) and his high percentage of graduating players.
Bob Knight began his career as a player at Orrville High School and continued under Hall of Fame coach Fred Taylor at Ohio State University in 1958. He was a reserve on the Buckeyes' 1960 NCAA Division I National Championship team, which featured future Hall of Fame players John Havlicek and Jerry Lucas. Knight graduated with a degree in history and government in 1962.
After graduation in 1962, Bob Knight coached junior varsity basketball at Cuyahoga Falls (Ohio) High school. After that, he accepted an assistant coaching position at Army in 1963, where, two years later, he was named the head coach at the relatively young age of 24. In six seasons at West Point Knight won 102 games, with his first as a head coach coming against Worcester Polytechnic Institute. One of his players was Hall of Fame coach Mike Krzyzewski.
While at Army, Knight became friends with Bill Parcells, the former coach of the Dallas Cowboys, the New York Giants, the New England Patriots and the New York Jets. Knight is regularly seen wearing Cowboys apparel at Texas Tech.
Knight was noticed as a rising star, and when Indiana University was seeking a new coach in 1971, they turned to Knight. Knight immediately endeared himself to the basketball-mad state of Indiana with his disciplined approach to the game. Educated in military history, Knight was given the nickname "The General" by former University of Detroit and Detroit Pistons coach-turned-broadcaster Dick Vitale.
Indiana reached the Final Four in 1973, losing to UCLA. In 1975, the Hoosiers were undefeated and the number one team in the nation, when leading scorer Scott May broke his arm in a win over arch-rival Purdue. Indiana subsequently lost 92-90 to Kentucky in the regional finals of the NCAA tournament, May playing with a heavily-braced arm.
In 1976, the Hoosiers were undefeated at 32-0 and won the championship, crushing Michigan 86-68. Immediately after the game, Knight lamented that "it should have been two." No Division I men's team has had an undefeated season since.
Knight's Hoosiers also won championships in 1981, with future Hall of Fame NBA point guard Isiah Thomas, soundly beating North Carolina 63-50, and in 1987 with guard Steve Alford, squeaking by Syracuse 74-73 on a last-second shot by Keith Smart.
Knight's Hoosiers won the 1979 NIT championship, and Knight led the USA team to Gold in the Olympics as coach of the Michael Jordan-led 1984 team (Coaches do not receive medals in the Olympics). He also won eleven Big Ten Conference titles. Knight is only one of four coaches to win NCAA, NIT, and Olympic championships, joining Dean Smith of North Carolina, Adolph Rupp of Kentucky, and Pete Newell of California.
The Indiana Hoosiers were undefeated in Big Ten Conference play from 1974 to 1976, and, lost only one game during the period (the aforementioned regional final against Kentucky).
Knight failed to convince future National Basketball Association legend Larry Bird to stay at Indiana University. Bird, who was raised in the small southern Indiana town of French Lick, did not like the "massive" IU campus. He left Indiana University never having attended a single practice and returned home before later enrolling at the far smaller Indiana State University.
In 1991, Bob Knight was elected to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in his second year of eligibility. After Knight wasn't elected to the Hall the first year he was eligible, Knight told the committee to take his name off the list, but they denied his request.
Knight has consistently had among the highest graduation rates among college coaches.
On March 14, 2000, just before Indiana was to begin play in the NCAA tournament, the CNN/SI network ran a piece on Knight in which former player Neil Reed claimed he was choked by Bob Knight in a 1997 practice. Knight denied the claims in the story.
On April 11, 2000, CNN/SI aired a tape of an IU practice from 1997 that showed Knight with his hand around the neck of Neil Reed.
In May, 2000, Indiana University president Myles Brand announced that he had adopted a zero tolerance policy with regard to Bob Knight.
Termination from Indiana
In September, 2000, a freshman student named Kent Harvey reportedly said, "Hey Knight, what's up?" to Bob Knight. According to Harvey, Knight grabbed him by the arm and berated him for not showing him proper respect. According to Knight, Harvey was exaggerating the incident; he only grabbed his arm and lectured him about manners and respect. Assistant coach Mike Davis supported Knight's statement. The Indianapolis Star published photos of Harvey with marks on his arm. No charges were filed against Knight for the incident.
IU President (now NCAA President) Myles Brand stated that the Harvey incident was only one of numerous complaints that occurred after a zero-tolerance policy had been placed on Knight. Brand asked Knight to resign on September 10, 2000. Knight refused and Brand relieved Knight of his duties immediately. That evening, a crowd of thousands of students swarmed Bloomington in protest.
Harvey was supported by some and vilified by many who claim he intentionally set up Knight. Knight's supporters contend he was the victim of a media smear campaign orchestrated by enemies in the IU administration and that the majority of Brand's reasons for firing Knight were not credible. However, Knight said he didn't think he was set up.
On September 12, 2000, Knight was arrogant toward ESPN reporter Jeremy Schaap for interrupting him and accused Brand and other Indiana administrators of distorting facts. Jeremy's father, Dick Schaap, publicly asked Knight to apologize, especially for the comment, "You've got a long way to go to be like your father." According to witnesses, Knight stormed off after the interview ended, refusing to shake hands with Schaap.
The next day, Knight said goodbye to a crowd of some 6,000 supporters. He asked that they not hold a grudge against Harvey and that they let Harvey get on with his education and his life. Knights firing made national headlines including the cover of Sports Illustrated and around the clock coverage on ESPN. It was also mentioned on major news programs such as CBS News and CNN.
Two years later, Knight sued Indiana University, claiming the university violated his employment contract. The lawsuit was eventually dismissed.
After taking the next season off, all the while on the lookout for vacancies, Knight accepted the head coaching job at Texas Tech University. At the press conference introducing him as coach, Knight quipped, "This is the most comfortable red sweater I've had on in six years." Knight quickly turned the dormant program (which hadn't been to the NCAA tournament since 1996) back into a winner, leading them to three NCAA tournaments thus far, including a Sweet Sixteen appearance in 2005. Texas Tech slipped back in 2006, however, finishing 15-17 and giving Knight only his second losing season in his career.
Knight's Basketball Philosophy
Bob Knight's motion offense emphasizes post players setting screens and perimeter players passing the ball until a teammate becomes open for an uncontested jump shot or lay-up. On defense, players are required both to guard opponents tenaciously man-to-man and to help teammates when needed. When the three-point line was instituted in 1986-87, Knight indicated "There are only three players in the big ten who can hit it, and I have two of them." He was referring to Ted Kitchel and Brad Whitman.
When my time on Earth is gone, and my activities here are past, I want them bury me upside down and my critics can kiss my ass. —Bobby Knight, March 1994.
- In 1976, Knight pulled guard Jim Wisman off the court by his jersey
- In 1979, Knight was arrested for assaulting a police officer during the Pan American Games in Puerto Rico. Knight was angry that a practice gymnasium was not opened to his team, which went on to a 9-0 record in the tournament. Knight was later convicted in absentia in a Puerto Rican court. However, the charges were later dropped when Indiana Governor Otis Bowen refused to cooperate in extraditing Knight to the island commonwealth.
- (Right) In 1985, Knight threw a chair across the court to protest a referee's call during a game against the rival Purdue Boilermakers.
- Women's groups nationwide were outraged by Knight's comments during an April, 1988 interview with Connie Chung in which he said, "I think that if rape is inevitable, relax and enjoy it." Knight's comment was in reference to an Indiana basketball game in which he felt the referees were making poor calls against the Hoosiers. Knight claimed he asked Chung not to use the comment in the story immediately after saying it. Knight claimed Chung said it would not be used, while Chung denied ever agreeing to that. A crowd of about 300 protested Knight's comments on the Indiana University campus.
- In 1992 Knight feigned whipping a black player, Calbert Cheaney, an incident which made national headlines and resulted in protests by civil rights leaders. Supporters of Knight assert that several white players had received similar treatment, but this instance was the only widely reported incident. Knight apologized for the incident; however Cheaney later revealed that the incident was staged for the benefit of the press after Knight's players tired of being repeatedly asked about how tough it was to play for Bob Knight. The whip, in fact, was a gift from his players. Cheaney feigned whipping Knight with a towel as a response to this.
- Knight allegedly kicked his own son, Pat Knight, during a 1993 game (Knight claims he actually kicked a chair).
- Knight was shown berating a NCAA university volunteer at a 1998 news conference. The volunteer informed the press that Knight would not be attending the press conference, when he was actually only running a few minutes late and had planned on attending per NCAA rules. Knight was shown saying: "You've only got two people that are going to tell you I'm not going to be here. One is our SID (Sports Information Director), and the other is me. Who the hell told you I wasn't going to be here? I'd like to know. Do you have any idea who it was?...Who?...They were from Indiana, right?... No, they weren't from Indiana, and you didn't get it from anybody from Indiana, did you? ... No, I -- I'll handle this the way I want to handle it now that I'm here...You fucked it up to begin with! Now just sit there or leave, I don't give shit what you do!" Turning back to the press, he added, "Now back to the game."
- Indiana University was fined $10,000 in 1999 for Knight's derogatory remarks about a referee.
- In 1999, an Indiana University secretary accused Knight of throwing a potted plant at her
- In 1999, Assistant coach Ron Felling claimed Knight threw him off a chair and punched him in the chest after an eavesdropping Knight overheard him criticizing his program and methods on the telephone. (Felling allegedly said "Knight's ranting and raving ... takes the fun out of winning"). Felling sued Knight for assault and received an out-of-court settlement of $35,000 from IU. Many feel it was Felling who precipitated Knight's 2000 firing by Indiana University president Myles Brand by leaking a video of a practice session to the media in which Knight appears to strike and hold the throat of player Neil Reed.
- In 1999, Knight accidentally shot long time friend Thomas Mikunda in the back and shoulder with a 20 gauge shotgun while shooting grouse. Two years later Mikunda sued Knight, claiming Knight coerced him into lying to investigators. The suit was settled out of court soon after. Knight was cited for failing to report a hunting accident and hunting without a nonresident small game license. He pleaded no contest to each count.
- In February 2004, Knight again made national headlines for a "verbal dust up" with then Texas Tech University Chancellor David Smith at a Lubbock supermarket.
- In March 2006, a student's heckling at Baylor University resulted in Knight having to be restrained by a police officer. The incident, though, was not severe enough to warrant any action from the Big 12 Conference.
- On November 13, 2006, Knight was shown allegedly hitting player Michael Prince under the chin to get him to make eye contact. Although Knight didn't comment on the incident afterwards and as of yet hasn't done so, Prince, his parents, and Texas Tech athletic director Gerald Myers insisted that Knight did nothing wrong and that he merely lifted Prince's chin and told him "Hold your head up and don't worry about mistakes. Just play the game." Prince commented, "He was trying to teach me and I had my head down so he raised my chin up. He was telling me to go out there and don't be afraid to make mistakes. He said I was being too hard on myself."
Most Coaching Victories
On January 1, 2007 Knight achieved his 880th career win, passing retired North Carolina coach Dean Smith for the most career NCAA Division I men's college basketball victories, when his Red Raiders beat New Mexico 70-68. Knight trails both Adoph Rupp and Dean Smith in win differential, which is the difference between wins and losses and reflects Knight's lower lifetime winning percentage, as it took Knight 41 seasons and 100 extra games to achieve the record, compared with Smith's 36.
During the recognition ceremony following the game, Knight's eyes filled with tears. Knight has repeatedly asserted that the milestone is more a reflection of the talent of the many players he has coached than his own coaching ability or longevity.
Books About Bob Knight
Books about Knight include A Season on the Brink by John Feinstein, Bob Knight: His Own Man by Joan Mellen , and Playing for Knight: My Six Seasons with Bobby Knight by former player and current New Mexico head basketball coach Steve Alford.
A Season on the Brink author John Feinstein (recommended to Knight by Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski) was granted full access to the program and Knight's personal life for an entire season. The book was later made into a television movie by ESPN, with Brian Dennehy portraying Knight.
In 2002, Knight and long-time friend and sports journalist Bob Hammel wrote his biography, Knight: My Story.
In Bob Knight, His Own Man, Mellen characterized Feinstein's book as "banal."
In 2006, Bob Knight: The Unauthorized Biographyby Steve Delsohn and Mark Heisler, was published.
Film and Television
Blue Chips is a 1994 feature film about Pete Bell, a volatile, but honest college basketball coach under pressure to win who decides to blatantly violate NCAA rules to field a competitive team after several sub-par seasons. It starred Nick Nolte as Bell and NBA star Shaquille O'Neal as Neon Bordeaux, a dominating once-in-a-lifetime player Bell woos to his school with gifts and other perks. Several incidents in the film are clearly inspired by Knight's history. Current NBA guard Anfernee "Penny" Hardaway co-stars as another "blue chipper" recruited by Bell. NBA legend Bob Cousy plays the school's president. Knight himself has a cameo alongside other collegiate and NBA legends such as Larry Bird and Rick Pitino. ESPN writer Bill Simmons stated that, while the Bell character cheated, Knight would never have done so.
In 2002, veteran character actor Brian Dennehy portrayed Knight in A Season on the Brink, a TV film adapted from John Feinstein's book. It was ESPN's first feature-length film.
Knight made a cameo appearance as himself in the 2003 film Anger Management.
It was announced in mid-2005 that Knight would be the central character of a new reality show for ESPN. The show, entitled Knight School, followed a handful of Texas Tech students who will compete for the right to join the Red Raiders as a non-scholarship player.