BOBBY KNIGHT 1940-2023
Bobby Knight, Spain’s executioner in ‘84, passes away
The legendary Indiana Hoosier coach has died at the age of 83. He was Team USA’s coach at the Los Angeles Olympic Games.
Farewell to a legend of American and world university basketball. Robert Montgomery Knight (born 1940 in Orrville, Ohio), known as Bob or Bobby Knight, died this morning at the age of 83 at his home in Bloomigton, Indiana, his family confirmed.
Knight was Team USA’s coach at the 1984 Olympic Games. In Los Angeles, his team, comprising Michael Jordan, Pat Ewing, Chris Mullin and Sam Perkins picked up the gold medal after beating a Spain side which featured Epi, Romay, Fernando Martín and commanded by the late Antonio Díaz-Miguel. Knight was full of admiration for Díaz-Miguel, saying later that ,“He was the best non-American coach of his time”.
An uncompromising and disciplined coach, Knight’s story flits between light and shadow. Between the genius of his methods and the revolution of his systems, known for their dynamic attacks, passing and blocking, together with a press defense. There was also his volatile character that led him to forcibly leave the Indiana Hoosiers, his home since 1971, in the fall of 2000. During almost three decades in Indiana, he won his three national titles: 1976, with a record of 32- 0, 1981 and 1987.
Knight was dismissed, against the wishes of the students, who idolized him as a god, for violently confronting a student. An act of fury that broke the camel’s back and that could no longer simply be punished with three games and $300,000 as when a video came to light in which he grabbed a player by the neck. His figure saved him on that occasion. Nothing and no one could prevent him from saying goodbye to Indiana.
His outbursts were a constant during his career. It was ingrained in his DNA, his image. Knight was not shy about pressuring his players or insulting and protesting to referees. He assaulted a police officer in Puerto Rico during the 1979 Pan American Games, threw a trash can at a fan and kicked his own son off the bench during a timeout.
He is particularly remembered for one incident in February 1985 - throwing a red chair across the court, just as Steve Reid (Purdue) was about to launch a free throw. Knight’s coaching career began on the benches at West Point, the military academy. Hence his admiration for George Patton and his nickname, The General.
His career didn’t ended after Indiana. Texas Tech had him on the bench for nine years, from 2001 to 2008. He closed his cycle as a coach with 42 seasons, 902 victories (5th best mark ever for a university coach) and with 80% of his players graduating from university when the average was 42%. Only four of the students (2%) who passed through his hands during the entire cycle (four years) were left without a diploma. He entered the Hall of Fame in 1991 and the NCAA in 2006.