Bob Knight : biography
Robert Montgomery "Bob" Knight (born October 25, 1940) is a retired American basketball coach. Nicknamed "The General", Knight won 902 NCAA Division I men’s college basketball games, most all-time at the time of his retirement and currently third all-time behind his former player, Mike Krzyzewski and Coach Jim Boeheim of Syracuse. He is most well known as the head coach of the Indiana Hoosiers from 1971–2000. He also coached at Texas Tech (2001–2008) and at Army (1965–1971).
While at Indiana, Knight led his teams to three NCAA championships, one National Invitation Tournament (NIT) championship, and 11 Big Ten Conference championships. He received the National Coach of the Year honor four times and the Big Ten Coach of the Year honor eight times. In 1984, he coached the USA men’s Olympic team to a gold medal, becoming one of only three basketball coaches to win an NCAA title, NIT title, and an Olympic gold medal.
Knight was one of college basketball’s most successful and innovative coaches, having perfected and popularized the motion offense. He has also been praised for running clean programs (none of his teams were ever sanctioned by the NCAA for recruiting violations) and graduating most of his players. However, Knight has also attracted controversy; he famously threw a chair across the court during a game, was once arrested for assault, and regularly displayed a combative nature during encounters with members of the press. Knight remains "the object of near fanatical devotion" from his former players and Indiana fans.
In 2008, Knight joined ESPN as a men’s college basketball studio analyst during Championship Week and for coverage of the NCAA Tournament. For the 2008–09 season, he joined ESPN as a part-time color commentator as well as continuing his studio analyst duties.
Criticism and controversy
- It was reported (although years after the incident) that Knight choked and punched IU’s longtime sports information director, Kit Klingelhoffer, in the 1970s, over a news release that upset the coach.
- On December 7, 1974, Indiana and Kentucky met in the regular season in Bloomington with a 98-74 Indiana win. Near the end of the game, Bob Knight went to the Kentucky bench where the official was standing to complain about a call. Before he left, Knight hit Kentucky coach Joe B. Hall in the back of the head. UK’s assistant coach Lynn Nance, a former FBI agent who was about 6 feet 5 inches, had to be restrained by Hall from hitting Knight. Hall later said, "It publicly humiliated me." Knight said the slap to the head was something he has done, "affectionately" to his own players for years. "But maybe someone would not like that," he said. "If Joe didn’t like it, I offer an apology. I don’t apologize for the intent." … "Hall and I have been friends for a long time," Knight said. "If he wants to dissolve the friendship, that’s up to him." Knight blamed the furor on Hall, noting in his inimitable style, "If it was meant to be malicious, I’d have blasted the fucker into the seats."
- During the 1979 Pan American Games in San Juan, Puerto Rico, Knight was accused of assaulting a police officer while coaching the US Basketball team before a practice session. He was later convicted in absentia to a six-month jail sentence, but extradition efforts by the Puerto Rican government were not successful.
- In a game at Bloomington on January 31, 1981 between Indiana and Purdue, Hoosier star Isiah Thomas allegedly hit Purdue guard Roosevelt Barnes in what some critics described as a "sucker punch". Video replay shown by Knight later showed Barnes had mistakenly thrown the first punch, and that Thomas was merely reacting to this. When the two schools played their second game of the season at Purdue on February 7, 1981, Knight claimed a number of derisive chants were directed at him, his wife, and Indiana University. In response Knight invited Purdue athletic director George King on his weekly television show to discuss the matter, but King declined. Therefore, in place of King, Knight brought onto the show a "jackass" (male donkey) wearing a Purdue hat as a representative of Purdue. The 1980–81 Hoosiers would go on to win the 1981 NCAA National Championship, the school’s fourth national title.