Robert M. Knight

From Ohio History Central

Robert (Bobby) Montgomery Knight was born on October 25, 1940, in Massillon, Ohio. As a child, Knight fell in love with the game of basketball. He competed in both high school and college, helping The Ohio State University win a national championship in 1960.

Upon graduating from Ohio State in 1962, Knight began coaching basketball. In 1963, he accepted his first college coaching position as an assistant coach at the United States Military Academy at West Point. The following year, Knight became head coach. In six seasons his team won a combined 102 games and took his players to the NCAA Basketball Tournament.

In 1971, Knight became the head coach at Indiana University. He continued to prosper there, winning national championships in 1976, 1981, and 1987. His 1976 team went undefeated. No team since Knight's has won the national championship while going undefeated. While at Indiana, Knight also won the NIT Championship (1979), won eleven Big Ten titles, and coached the United States Olympic Basketball Team to a gold medal (1984). He had twenty-one twenty-or-more-win seasons in his twenty-nine years at Indiana. He also won Coach of the Year honors four times (1975, 1976, 1987, and 1989).

Nicknamed the "General," Knight is highly respected for his coaching abilities, but his notorious temper and on-the-court antics have caused many people to criticize him. Knight threw a chair across the basketball court once to protest an official's call. In 1979, during the Pan-American Games in Puerto Rico, he was arrested for assault. He once was seen kicking his son during a game and once used a whip, jokingly but inappropriately, on an African-American player. Because of these and other incidents, in 2000, Indiana University warned Knight that he would be terminated if another incident occurred. Unfortunately for Knight and the university, one did occur in September 2000, and the university subsequently terminated Knight.

Knight sat out the 2000-2001 season, but he returned to coaching for the 2001-2002 season as the head coach at Texas Tech University. Knight has proven to be very successful there. While at Texas Tech, Knight has won his eight hundredth career game. After the 2004-2005 season, Knight had amassed 854 career wins, leaving him just twenty-five games short of the college record.

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