Legendary basketball coach Bob Knight has died at the age of 83

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Legendary basketball coach Bob Knight has died at the age of 83

Coach Bob Knight, who won three national titles at Indiana University, died at his home in Bloomington

Bob Knight, whose Hall of Fame career was highlighted by three I national titlesthey are children, one of whom crowned an undefeated season that has not been matched since, as well as countless on-court outbursts, has died. He is 83 years old.

The family of Knight made the announcement Wednesday night. He was hospitalized with an illness in April and has had health problems for years.

“It is with great regret that we share that the Coach Bob Knight “He died at his home in Bloomington surrounded by his family,” the statement read. “We appreciate all the thoughts and prayers, and appreciate the continued respect for our privacy as the coach requested a private meeting with the family, which we honor.”

Knight became the youngest coach at a school in Division I in 1965, when he entered the Army at age 24. But he left his mark at Indiana, including winning a school record 661 games and reaching the NCAA Tournament 24 times in 29 seasons. Knight’s first NCAA title came in 1976, when Indiana went undefeated, a feat no team has accomplished since.

Bobby Knight was known during his three championships at Indiana for his temper on the court. Jonathan Daniel / Allsport / Getty Images

“One of the things he said to our 1976 team, which I was fortunate enough to be a part of, was that we would never see another team like this again,” Indiana University Board of Trustees Chairman Quinn Buckner said. , this is a statement. “Well, I don’t know if we’ll ever see another coach like him.”

Knight won 20 or more games in a season 29 times, compiling a career record of 902-371.

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In 1984, he coached the United States Olympic team and earned a gold medal in Los Angeles, the last American amateur team to win Olympic gold. And, as expected, it came with controversy. Knight kept Steve Alford, the leader of Knight’s last national championship team in 1987, on his team while cutting players like future Hall of Famers Charles Barkley and John Stockton.

“I feel very blessed that he saw something in me as a basketball player,” said former Hoosiers player and current Indiana coach Mike Woodson in a statement. “He influenced my life in a way that I can never repay. As he does with all his players, he always challenges me to show my best as a player and, more importantly, as a person. His track record as a basketball coach speaks for itself. “He will be remembered as one of the greatest of all time.”

called “The general,” Knight was ultimately expelled from Indiana in 2000 for violating a “zero tolerance” behavior policy by grabbing the arm of a freshman he said greeted him by his last name. It was the final violation of long list, which includes his most famous incident (throwing a chair at a Purdue game) and allegations of numerous physical confrontations. The most famous one involved Knight apparently choking player Neil Reed at practice in 1997. Knight then left to become Texas Tech’s basketball coach in 2001, six months after being fired by Indiana for what school officials called an “unacceptable pattern of behavior.”

Legendary Basketball Coach Bob Knight Has Died At The Age Of 83

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Knight was elected and inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1991. Knight previously asked not to be nominated again for the Hall of Fame, calling the voters’ rejection of him in 1987 a “slap in the face .”

He is a complicated man and has a long history of outbursts over the years. He was accused and later convicted of beating a police officer at the Pan American Games in San Juan, Puerto Rico, in 1979; he head-butted Indiana player Sherron Wilkerson while yelling at him on the bench, accused of putting his hands around a player’s neck and allegedly kicked his own son. (Knight said he actually kicked the chair his son was sitting in.)

He also mocked Calbert Cheaney, a black player at Indiana, in a 1992 practice for the NCAA West Regional, which offended many black leaders. Knight denied any racial overtones and noted that the players gave him the whip.

But Knight never violated NCAA rules. It always has a high graduation rate. And he turned in his Texas Tech salary a few years after arriving in Lubbock because he didn’t think he earned it.

The firing of Knight by former Indiana President Myles Brand remains unpopular in the state of Indiana, where Knight still has many supporters.

Indiana University officials have tried over the years to patch things up with Knight, but he has consistently rejected all attempts by the school, former players and fans to make peace, and has not participated in any activities. at IU. .

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He skipped team meetings and even refused to attend his induction into the school’s Athletic Hall of Fame in 2009, saying he didn’t want his presence to distract other members of the class.

However, everything has changed in recent years.

The meltdown began in earnest in 2019, when he made a surprise appearance at a baseball game in Indiana. In July, he bought a house three miles from the basketball stadium in Bloomington.

And in February 2020, it finally returns to Assembly Hall for a showdown between Indiana and Purdue. He was met with roars of approval from the sold-out crowd, including many former players.

Knight entered with his son Pat. Knight hugs Isiah Thomas. Buckner helped him to the arena. And Knight relished the moment, pumping his fist, pretending to lead Scott May in a practice drill and even leading the fans in a chorus of “De-defense, de-defense.”

“I was there and he was Coach Knight,” recalled former player Randy Wittman, who played a major role in the meeting. “It was like he never left the locker room. The words he gave the players before they walked off the field were amazing.” Knight is survived by his wife, Karen, and sons, Tim and Pat.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.