Bobby Knight turns 72 today. “The General” had his most success as coach of the Indiana Hoosiers. He coached them to three National Championships, in 1976, 1981 and 1987. As a player he was part of a National Championship with the Ohio State Buckeyes. His Indiana teams won 11 Big Ten titles. He led Team USA to the gold medal in 1984.
Bobby Knight has been known for many things some good some bad. He always ran clean programs. He followed the rules. He was tough on his players but if you survived playing for Bobby Knight you were probably better off for the experience. He was a great teacher of the sport of basketball. He only coached one player who went on to superstardom in the NBA- Isiah Lord Thomas III. His teams were known for their outstanding defense.
The flip side of Knight was his bad temper. He got in trouble numerous times, throwing a chair out onto the court during a game, he was accused of assaulting a police officer in Puerto Rico before a Team USA practice there, he choked a player in practice that was caught on video that got him into troube, his mouth at times got him into hot water, and he was fired at Indiana after an incident with a student.
Knight coached at Army 1965-71, Indiana from 1971-2000 and Texas Tech from 2001-2008. His overall record 902-371. a winning percentage of .709. He has had a long line of assistant coaches move on to become head coaches in college and the NBA. Mike Krzyzewski a former player for Knight at Army and a former Knight assistant is the only college coach with more wins than Knight.
I think Knight is the finest coach since the John Wooden era. Would he be the first guy I would hire? Maybe not. I think If I were in charge of a program and could take any coach in the past 40 years I’d have to go with a Coach K or Dean Smith over Knight because of the extra baggage Knight brought that the other two didn’t.