Biographies - Bobby Knight
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|Bobby Knight |
|Born: October 25, 1940|
Head men's basketball coach at Texas Tech University. He previously held the same position at Indiana University (1972-2000) and the United States Military Academy (1965-71).
Bobby Knight earned ten letters in three sports at Ohio State University. He was a sophomore substitute on the basketball team that won the 1960 NCAA championship, and he also played for the teams that lost in the finals of the 1961 and 1962 NCAA tournaments.
After graduating, Knight entered the Army and became assistant basketball coach at the U. S. Military Academy at West Point. Two years later, he was named head coach. At 24, he was the youngest Division I basketball coach in history.
His emphasis on solid team defense soon became obvious. In his five years at West Point, three of his teams led the nation in defense and the other two finished second. Knight compiled a record of 102 wins against 50 losses before going to Indiana University in 1971.
At Indiana, he was thrust into the national spotlight and was frequently criticized by media and fans for his courtside behavior. Knight often grabbed players and shouted angrily at them. He once threw a chair onto the floor to protest an officials decision. And he was involved in international controversy twice, once for allegedly striking a security guard in Puerto Rico while coaching the 1979 Pan-American Games team, the other time for pulling his Indiana team off the floor after he had been ejected from a game against the Soviet Union.
But, while a few players transferred from Indiana to other schools, most of his players defended him. At a time when a number of college basketball programs were tainted by recruiting violations, there was never a hint of scandal at Indiana, and Knights players had a consistently high graduation rate.
They also produced on the court. Under Knight, Indiana won three NCAA championships, in 1976, 1981, and 1987, and the 1975-76 team won all 32 of its games. Knight got his 300th career victory in 1979, at the age of thirty-nine, the youngest coach ever to reach that figure.
During the 90s, though, Indiana didn do well in the NCAA tournament, even though Knights teams won consistently during the regular season, and criticism of his behavior mounted. After a former player claimed that Knight had physically abused him, the university president in effect put the coach on probation in May of 2000, announcing a "zero tolerance policy."
In September, a student claimed that Knight had grabbed him and let out a string of curse words because the student called him by his last name instead of referring to him as "Mr. Knight." Knight denied the charge, but he was abruptly fired.
After a year out of basketball, Knight became the head coach at Texas Tech in 2001. He promptly led the school to a 23-9 and its first NCAA tournament appearance in six years. In his second season, though, the record slipped to 18-12, and Knight announced that he would not accept his salary for the year because of that disappointing performance.
On January 1, 2007, at Texas Tech, Knight achieved his 880th career win, passing retired North Carolina coach Dean Smith for the most career NCAA Division I mens college basketball victories. The game was a 70-68 victory by the Red Raiders over the New Mexico Lobos. Knight trails both Adolph Rupp and Dean Smith in win differential, which is the difference between wins and losses and reflects Knights lower lifetime winning percentage, as it took Knight 41 seasons and 100 extra games to achieve the record, compared with Smiths 36. However, Knight overtook Smith at a younger age. (He was also one of the youngest or the youngest to reach milestones 200 (age 35), 300 (age 40), 400 (age 44), 500 (age 48) and 600 (age 52).) He shows no signs of slowing down, so for Mike Krzyzewski to overtake him will take some time. Krzyzewski is only 7 years younger and 100+ games behind.
During the recognition ceremony following the game, Knights eyes filled with tears. Knight has repeatedly asserted that the milestone is more a reflection of the talent of the many players he has coached than his own coaching ability or longevity.
The Red Raiders participation in the 2007 NCAA Mens Division I Basketball Tournament marked another record. With their inclusion as the #10 seed in the East Regional, Knight became the coach to lead his team to more NCAA Tournaments than any other. However, the team lost to Boston College in the first round by a score of 84-75.