Bob Knight


Bob Knight : biography

October 25, 1940 –

Playing career

Knight was born in Massillon, Ohio and grew up in Orrville, Ohio. Knight began his career as a player at Orrville High School. He continued under Basketball Hall of Fame coach Fred Taylor at Ohio State in 1958. Despite being a star player in high school, he played a reserve role as a forward on the 1960 Ohio State Buckeyes team that won the NCAA Championship and featured future Hall of Fame players John Havlicek and Jerry Lucas. The Buckeyes lost to the Cincinnati Bearcats in each of the next two NCAA Championship games, of which Knight was also a part.

Due in part to the star power of those Ohio State teams, playing time was usually scarce for Knight, but that did not prevent him from making an impact; in the 1961 NCAA Championship game, Knight came off the bench with 1:41 on the clock and Cincinnati leading Ohio State, 61-59. In the words of then-Ohio State assistant coach Frank Truitt, Knight got the ball in the left front court and faked a drive into the middle. Then [he] crossed over like he worked on it all his life and drove right in and laid it up. That tied the game for us, and Knight ran clear across the floor like a 100-yard dash sprinter and ran right at me and said, ‘See there, coach, I should have been in that game a long time ago!’ To which Truitt replied, "Sit down, you hot dog. You’re lucky you’re even on the floor."[Delsohn, Steve and Mark Heisler. "Bob Knight: The Unauthorized Biography." New York: Simon & Schuster, Inc., 2006. 22. ISBN 074324348X]

In addition to lettering in basketball at Ohio State, it has been claimed that Knight also lettered in football and baseball; however, the official list of Ohio State football letter earners does not include Knight. Knight graduated with a degree in history and government in 1962.

International coaching

In 1979 Knight guided the United States Pan American team to a gold medal in Puerto Rico. In 1984 Knight led the U.S. national team to a gold medal in the Olympic Games as coach of the 1984 basketball team (coaches do not receive medals in the Olympics). Players on the team included Michael Jordan and Knight’s Indiana player and protege Steve Alford.

Indiana University Hoosiers

In 1971 the Indiana University Hoosiers hired Knight as head coach. Because of his time spent coaching at Army and his disciplinarian nature, Knight earned the nickname "The General." During his 29 years as head coach at Indiana, the Hoosiers won 662 games, including 22 seasons of 20 or more wins, while losing but 239, a remarkable .735 winning percentage. In 24 NCAA tournament appearances at Indiana, Hoosier teams under Bob Knight won 42 of 63 games (.667), winning titles in 1976, 1981, and 1987, while losing in the semi-finals in 1973 and 1992.


In 1972–73, Knight’s second year as coach, Indiana won the Big Ten championship and reached the Final Four, but lost to UCLA. The following season, 1973–74, Indiana once again captured a Big Ten title. In the two following seasons, 1974-75 and 1975-76, Knight’s teams were undefeated in the regular season and won 37-consecutive Big Ten games on their way to their fourth conference title in a row. The 1974-75 Hoosiers swept the entire Big Ten by an average of 22.8 points per game. However, in a 83-82 win against Purdue they lost consensus All-American forward Scott May to a broken left arm. With May playing just 7 mins, the No. 1 Hoosiers lost to Kentucky 92-90 in the Midwest Regional. The following season, 1975–76, the Hoosiers went the entire season and 1976 NCAA tournament without a single loss, beating Michigan 86–68 in the title game. Immediately after the game, Knight lamented that "it should have been two." The 1976 Hoosiers remains the last undefeated NCAA Division I men’s basketball team. Indiana won the 1979 NIT championship.


The 1979-80 Hoosiers won the Big Ten championship and advanced to the 1980 Sweet Sixteen. The following season, in 1980-81, star-guard Isiah Thomas and Knight’s Hoosiers once again won a conference title and won the 1981 NCAA tournament, Knight’s second national title. In 1982–1983, Knight’s No. 1 ranked Hoosiers were favorites to win another national championship. However with an injury to All-American Ted Kitchel mid-season, the Hoosiers’ prospects were grim. Knight asked for fan support to rally around the team, which ultimately won the Big Ten championship. Nevertheless in the tournament Kitchel’s absence was felt and the team lost to Kentucky in the 1983 Sweet Sixteen.