Bobby Knight

Basketball Hall of Famer Bobby Knight won three national titles with Indiana University and was the first Division I men’s coach to accumulate 900 career wins.


Born in Ohio in 1940, Bobby Knight won the 1960 national basketball championship as a reserve for Ohio State. After coaching at West Point, Knight won three national titles during his 29 years at Indiana University, before his famed temper contributed to his departure in 2000. He resumed coaching at Texas Tech in 2001, retiring in 2008 with a then-men's Division I basketball record 902 wins.

Early Years

Robert Montgomery Knight was born on October 25, 1940, in Massillon, Ohio. The only child of Pat, a railroad worker, and Hazel, a schoolteacher, Knight became a talented multisport athlete, and demonstrated an interest in coaching at an early age. 

A star basketball player at Orrville High School, Knight mainly found himself in a reserve role at Ohio State University. Nevertheless, he was a key contributor for one of the era's powerhouse teams, which won the 1960 national championship and went 78-6 during his three years on the varsity. 

Coaching Fame 

After college, Knight spent a year as an assistant basketball coach at Cuyahoga Falls High School in Ohio, followed by two years as an assistant at West Point. Named the academy's head coach at age 24, Knight spurred his players to a pair of 20-win seasons and four NIT appearances over the next six years. 

Knight moved to Indiana University in 1971, where he made his mark by installing a lockdown defense. He won his first Big Ten league title in 1973, his efforts culminating with a perfect 32-0 record and a national championship in 1976. Knight's Hoosiers also won national titles in 1981 and 1987. 

One of the sharpest minds in the business, "The General" became the youngest coach to notch career wins Nos. 200 through 800. He led the United States team to gold medals at the 1979 Pan America Games and the 1984 Summer Olympics, and was voted the national coach of the year four times. However, his success was at times overshadowed by a legendary temper. Knight was arrested for punching a police officer during the 1979 Pan Am Games, and he famously threw a chair onto the court during a 1985 game. 

Knight kept Indiana in the running for the Big Ten title on an annual basis into the 1990s, but school support of his authoritarian style gradually eroded. Warned to control his behavior after allegations of physical assault in 2000, he was fired in September of that year after grabbing a student by the arm. He finished his 29-year tenure at IU with a 662 wins, a .735 winning percentage and 11 Big Ten titles. 

Resurfacing as the head coach at Texas Tech University in 2001, Knight quickly whipped the Red Raiders into shape. They won 20 games in four consecutive seasons for the first time in school history, and advanced to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament in 2005. 

In January 2007, Knight earned career victory No. 880 to surpass Dean Smith for the most wins by a men's basketball coach in Division I history. Thirteen months later, he announced that he was stepping down from his post, ending his storied career with a lifetime head coaching record of 902-371. 


One of only three men to win the college basketball national championship as a player and coach, Knight was elected to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1991. He served as an analyst for ESPN from 2008 to 2015, his record for wins surpassed during this time by a former player and assistant, Duke University coach Mike Krzyzewski. 

Knight has two sons from his first marriage, Tim and Pat. Pat played for his dad at Indiana in the early 1990s, and took over the head coaching job at Texas Tech upon Knight's retirement in 2008.

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