ESPN analyst Bob Knight prepares for a game Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

Bob Knight, whose run as Indiana Hoosiers men’s basketball head coach between 1971 and 2000 was among the greatest in the history of the sport, has died at the age of 83.

The news was first shared by his official website and social media account.

“It is with heavy hearts that we share that Coach Bob Knight passed away at his home in Bloomington surrounded by his family,” reads a message on the website. “We are grateful for all the thoughts and prayers, and appreciate the continued respect for our privacy as Coach requested a private family gathering, which is being honored. We will continue to celebrate his life and remember him, today and forever as a beloved Husband, Father, Coach, and Friend.”

Knight, who began his head coaching career at Army and ended it at Texas Tech, won 902 NCAA Division I men’s college basketball games, which is currently fifth all-time. At Indiana, he won three national championships and 11 Big Ten Conference championships, which includes his 1975-1976 team that went undefeated in the regular season and NCAA Tournament.

The controversial coach left behind a complicated legacy to go with his many victories. His tirades became as much a part of his reputation as his coaching acumen. After multiple allegations and incidents of verbal and physical abuse against players and students, he was fired in 2000. He was able to rehab his image somewhat at Texas Tech, where he led the Red Raiders to four NCAA Tournaments, including a Sweet Sixteen.

Still, some of his dustups with the college basketball media world remain shocking even by modern standards.

Despite having an avid dislike of the media, Knight’s post-coaching career included plenty of media-related jobs and opportunities. He joined ESPN in 2008 as a college basketball studio analyst and remained with the company, working in the studio and as a color commentator, through 2015.

Knight also made various appearances in television and film, often as himself. His most notable role might have been as “Bob Knight” in the film Blue Chips, in which he coached a rival school against a coach played by Nick Nolte, who was very clearly based on the real Knight. He would later make a cameo in Anger Management and appeared in various commercials.

The legendary coach was the subject of ESPN’s first feature-length film, A Season on the Brink, an adaptation of John Feinstein’s book. Knight was portrayed by Brian Dennehy. The profanity-laced film debuted on ESPN as intended but was also shown on ESPN with profanities censored. ESPN also featured the coach in Knight School, a reality show that followed Texas Tech students competing to make the men’s college basketball team. ESPN also produced a 30 for 30 documentary about how Knight’s tenure at Indiana ended, called The Last Days of Knight.

Knight’s reputation on and off the court will likely be a large part of the discussion of his legacy in the coming days. In the meantime, there were plenty of condolences offered for the head coach, who impacted so many people’s lives in and around the basketball world.


About Sean Keeley

Along with writing for Awful Announcing and The Comeback, Sean is the Editorial Strategy Director for Comeback Media. Previously, he created the Syracuse blog Troy Nunes Is An Absolute Magician and wrote 'How To Grow An Orange: The Right Way to Brainwash Your Child Into Rooting for Syracuse.' He has also written non-Syracuse-related things for SB Nation, Curbed, and other outlets. He currently lives in Seattle where he is complaining about bagels. Send tips/comments/complaints to