Bob Knight, The Legendary Chair-Throwing College Basketball Coach, Dies At 83

Bob Knight
Credit: Mark Lyons /Allsport via Getty Images

The sports world lost one of its most legendary and charismatic coaches today with the passing of Bob Knight, who was 83 years old.

Knight, who is the sixth-winningest coach in the history of Division I college basketball, died at his home in Bloomington, Indiana after a long battle with an illness, his family said in a statement:

“It is with heavy hearts that we share that Coach Bob Knight passed away at his home in Bloomington surrounded by his family. 

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 started his basketball coaching career at Army when he was just 24 years old. Breaking into the sport at that young of an age certainly showed that he had what it took to be a college basketball coach, and he proved that with his historical run at Indiana University.

It was there that Knight (and his patented red sweater) coached for 29 years, winning an impressive 661 games and reaching the NCAA tournament 24 of the 29 seasons that he was the head coach.

In 1976, Knight led the Hoosier to an undefeated season and an NCAA Championship, which was his first college basketball title. That season is also the last time that a college team went through an entire season without losing a single game.

Knight was rightfully given the opportunity to coach the U.S. Olympic team in 1984, and helped bring the American team a gold medal. He was clearly a great coach at any level, and had a career record of 902 wins and 371 losses.

The only blemish on his career was a number of different “zero tolerance” behavioral issues that eventually forced Knight out of his head coaching position at Indiana. Knight was accused of being “physical” with many of his players, even allegedly choking Neil Reed during a practice in 1997.

And then there’s the infamous chair throw that happened during a game against Purdue, where Knight picked up a chair from the bench and launched it across the basketball court in protest of foul calls the referees were making:

Following his departure from Indiana, Knight went on to coach at Texas Tech for six years, which allowed for him to continue to rack up wins and move up the all-time list of college coaching greats.

He eventually stepped away from coaching, and briefly worked as a college basketball analyst. Though his relationship with Indiana soured when he was dismissed, Knight had started to rekindle the connection with the Hoosiers in recent years.

In 2020, Knight returned to Assembly Hall in Bloomington, Indiana for the first time since he had left, and was met with raucous applause from coaches, players, and fans in attendance. The house he passed away in was only three miles away from the basketball arena he spent so much of his life in.

RIP Bob Knight.

A beer bottle on a dock



A beer bottle on a dock