BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (AP) — Bob Knight, the brilliant and combustible coach who won three NCAA titles at Indiana and for years was the scowling face of college basketball has died. He was 83.
Knight’s family made the announcement on social media on Wednesday night, saying he was surrounded by family members at his home in Bloomington, Indiana.
Knight was among the winningest coaches in the sport, finishing his career with 902 victories in 42 seasons at Army, Indiana and Texas Tech. He also coached the U.S. Olympic team to a gold medal in 1984.
The Hall of Famer cared little what others thought of him, choosing Frank Sinatra’s “My Way” to celebrate his 880th win in 2007, then the record for a Division I men’s coach.
He was nicknamed “The General” and his temper was such that in 2000 it cost him his job at Indiana. He once hit a police officer in Puerto Rico, threw a chair across the court and was accused of wrapping his hands around a player’s neck.
His critics fumed relentlessly about his conduct, but his defenders were legion. There was this side of Knight as well: He took pride in his players’ high graduation rates, and during a rule-breaking era he never was accused of a major NCAA violation.
Indiana University President Pamela Whitten issued the following statement:
“As we collectively mourn the passing of Coach Knight, we also celebrate a man who will always be an integral part of Indiana University’s rich and vibrant story. With unmatched accomplishment, Coach Knight’s brilliance ensures he will forever rest among the giants of college basketball.”
Governor Eric Holcomb issued the following statement:
“Coach Robert Montgomery Knight was a towering basketball figure and fighter, second to none. As a National Champion he became synonymous with our state and what Hoosier’s are all about: hard work, practice makes perfect, teamwork and a commitment to excellence. His teams were built around student-athletes and his influence prepared them for life after the ball stopped bouncing. There will never be another Coach Knight and the banners that hang in Assembly Hall will forever remind us of his time, impact and dominance. When Indiana builds our Mount Rushmore of Basketball, The General will surely be on it.”
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