Bobby Knight

Topics: Basketball, Indiana, Mike Krzyzewski Pages: 5 (1746 words) Published: May 22, 2006
Robert Montgomery "Bobby" Knight (born October 25, 1940 in Massillon, Ohio) is the head men's basketball coach at Texas Tech University. He previously held the same position at Indiana University and the United States Military Academy. Knight is one of NCAA Division I college basketball's most controversial coaches but is the third all-time winningest coach in the men's division, behind Dean Smith and Adolph Rupp. With only 10 wins separating him and all-time leader Dean Smith, Knight will probably break the all-time record next season. Bob Knight began his coaching career at Cuyahoga Falls (Ohio) High School where he was at for one year, then accepted an assistant coaching position at Army in 1963. Two years later he was named the head coach at the relatively young age of 24. In six seasons at West Point, Knight won 102 games, and coached future Hall of Famer Mike Krzyzewski. Knight then headed to Indiana University in 1971. Knight immediately endeared himself to the basketball-mad state of Indiana with his disciplined approach to the game. Educated in military history, Knight was given the nickname "The General" by former University of Detroit and Detroit Pistons coach-turned-broadcaster Dick Vitale. Within two years, Knight turned a mediocre team into a Big Ten Conference powerhouse. Indiana reached the Final Four in 1973, losing to UCLA. In 1975 the Indiana Hoosiers were undefeated and the number one team in the nation, when leading scorer and All-American Scott May, the father of former North Carolina star and current Charlotte Bobcats player Sean May, broke his arm during the Hoosiers' historic defeat of arch-rival Purdue on Purdue's home court. In 1976, the Hoosiers made history, posting a perfect 32-0 record and winning the national championship, beating Michigan 86-68. Immediately after the game, Knight lamented that "it should have been two." No Division I men's team has replicated the feat since. Under Knight, the Hoosiers would also win championships in 1981 and 1987. The 1981 team featured future Hall of Fame NBA point guard Isaiah Thomas. Knight is only one of four coaches to win NCAA, NIT, and Olympic championships, joining the legendary coaches, Dean Smith of North Carolina, Adolph Rupp of Kentucky, and Pete Newell of California in that achievement. Besides the 1975 Men's Division I tournament loss, many fans and pundits consider Bob Knight's only other true failure as Hoosiers head coach was his inability to convince future National Basketball Association legend Larry Bird to stay at Indiana. Bird, who was raised in the small southern Indiana town of French Lick, could not acclimate himself to the massive IU campus. He left Indiana never having attended a single practice and transferred to the far smaller Indiana State University. Bob Knight's basketball philosiphy requires tough, selfless, and intelligent play by players and the sacrifice of individual glory for the sake of the team's success. Inarguably, this has become difficult in an era when underclassmen began leaving college in greater numbers for the greener pastures of the NBA. However, Bob Knight has consistently had among the highest graduation rates among the college coaching fraternity. Bob Knight is, undisputedly, a disciplinarian with controversy following him wherever he goes. His long coaching career is replete with incidents where his volatile temper and surliness have come to the surface. Not only have his own players bore the brunt of Knight's behavior, but so have opposing players, reporters, referees, and Indiana University officials alike. Moreover, sometimes bizarre incidents involving him have often made national and international news. In 1974, during a regular-season win over Kentucky, Knight, after a conference and discussion with Wildcat coach Joe B. Hall, slapped Hall in the back of the head after Hall turned to return to his bench. This caused a riff between the former friends, although they have since reconciled. In 1979,...
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