Bob Knight


Bob Knight : biography

October 25, 1940 –

Knight’s motion offense didn’t take shape until his time at Indiana. Prior to that, at Army, he ran a "reverse action" that involved reversing the ball from one side of the floor to the other and screening along with it. According to Knight, it was a "West Coast offense" that Pete Newell used exclusively during his coaching career. After being exposed to the Princeton offense, Knight instilled more cutting with the offense he employed, which evolved into the motion offense that he ran for most of his career. Knight continued to develop the offense, instituting different cuts over the years and putting his players in different scenarios.

Knight was well known for the extreme preparation he put into each game and practice. He was often quoted as saying, "Most people have the will to win, few have the will to prepare to win." Often during practice, Knight would instruct his players to a certain spot on the floor and give them options of what to do based on how the defense might react. In contrast to set plays, Knight’s offense was designed to react according to the defense.

The 3-point shot was adopted nationally in the NCAA in 1986, mid-way through Knight’s coaching career. Although he opposed the rule change throughout his life, it did compliment his offense well by improving the spacing on the floor. Knight’s offense also emphasized a two-count. Players in the post are expected to try and post in the paint for two seconds and if they don’t receive the ball they go set a screen. Players with the ball are expected to hold the ball for two seconds to see where they are going to take it. Screens are supposed to be held for two seconds, as well.

On defense Knight was known for emphasizing tenacious "man-to-man" defense where defenders contest every pass and every shot, and to help teammates when needed. However, Knight has also incorporated a zone defense periodically after eschewing that defense for the first two decades of his coaching career.

Knight’s coaching also included a firm emphasis on academics. All but four of his four-year players completed degrees, a ratio of nearly 98 percent. Nearly 80 percent of his players graduated compared to the national average of 42 percent for Division I schools.

Family and charity

Knight married Nancy Lou on April 17, 1963 and the two divorced in 1985. Together they had two sons, Tim and Pat. Pat played at Indiana from 1991–95 and is now head coach at Lamar. In 1988 Knight married Karen Vieth Edgar, a former Oklahoma high school basketball coach.

Knight has a high regard for education and has made generous donations to the schools he has been a part of, particularly libraries. At Indiana University Knight endowed two chairs, one in history and one in law. He also raised nearly $5 million for the Indiana University library system by championing a library fund to support the library’s activities. The fund was ultimately named in his honor.

When Knight came to Texas Tech in 2001, he gave $10,000 to the library, the first gift to the Coach Knight Library Fund which has now collected over $300,000. On November 29, 2007, the Texas Tech library honored this with A Legacy of Giving: The Bob Knight Exhibit.

Army Black Knights

After graduation in 1962, Knight coached junior varsity basketball at Cuyahoga Falls High School in Ohio for one year. Knight then enlisted in the U.S. Army and accepted an assistant coaching position with the Army Black Knights 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 Mike Krzyzewski, who would later serve as his assistant before becoming a Hall of Fame head coach at Duke. Mike Silliman was also another of Knight’s players at Army, and Bob Knight was quoted as saying, "Mike Silliman is the best player I have ever coached."