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Hall of Fame basketball coach Bob Knight dies at 83

By CM Chaney · November 1, 2023

In brief…

  • Legendary college coach Bob Knight died at age 83.
  • Won 3 titles at Indiana, including 1976 perfect season.
  • Known for fiery temper but loyalty from players.
Bob Knight, the legendary and notoriously fiery college basketball coach who won three national championships at Indiana University, died at age 83.  Steven Wilke / Wikimedia

Legendary college basketball coach Bob Knight died at age 83, his family announced Wednesday.

Knight racked up 902 career wins at Army, Indiana, and Texas Tech, including three national championships with the Hoosiers.

“It is with heavy hearts that we share that Coach Bob Knight passed away at his home in Bloomington surrounded by his family,” the Knight Family said in a statement. “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. We will continue to celebrate his life and remember him, today and forever as a beloved Husband, Father, Coach, and Friend.

“In lieu of flowers, please consider honoring Coach with a memorial contribution to the Alzheimer’s Association or Marian University.”

Known for his fiery temper, Knight was the sixth-winningest coach in Division I men’s college basketball history. His greatest success came during 29 seasons at Indiana, where he went 661-239 and led the 1976 team to a perfect undefeated season.

“No single person has had a greater impact on my life than Coach Knight,” said former player and Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski. Though controversial for his angry outbursts, Krzyzewski called Knight “a mentor, and dear friend” who taught lifelong lessons.

After being fired from Indiana in 2000 for violating a behavior policy, Knight coached at Texas Tech from 2001-2008. There, he became the then-winningest Division I coach ever, passing North Carolina’s Dean Smith.

“I did it my way and when I look back on it, I don’t think my way was all that bad,” Knight said of his uncompromising approach. He resigned midseason from Texas Tech in 2008, ending a 42-year head coaching career.

Knight was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1991. He returned to Indiana in 2020 for the first time since his firing, receiving a hero’s welcome from adoring fans.

“It was one of the greatest and most emotional things for me,” said former player Randy Wittman of the reunion. “When he moved back here, I told him, ‘You’re back here because this is where you belong.’”