BLOOMINGTON — Legendary Indiana University basketball coach Bob Knight died Wednesday night. He was 83 years old.
"It is with heavy hearts that we share that Coach Bob Knight passed away at his home in Bloomington surrounded by his family," the family's statement said. "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 won 902 games as a head coach in his career, including 662 games as head coach of the Hoosiers.
Indiana won three NCAA championships under Knight: an undefeated season in 1976, the 1981 title led by Hall of Fame point guard Isiah Thomas, and the 1987 title clinched by Keith Smart's last-second shot against Syracuse.
Thousands of Hoosier fans were inside Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall to watch the women's basketball team when news of Knight's death broke Wednesday night. They remembered Knight as an icon of the program.
"He was everything to my generation, I kid you not," said Charles Clark. "He was an excellent coach and a very good man."
"I think Indiana would still be known as a top basketball school, but Bob Knight made it special, he really did," said Steve Layman. "I look at that game versus Syracuse. I don't think another coach would have won that game."
"I don't want to say anything about throwing the chair...his temperament was a bit different than most, but he was a hell of a coach," said Norb Fuhs. "He was a hell of a person who did a lot of things for a lot of people."
Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb provided the following statement following the news of Knight's passing.
Coach Robert Montgomery Knight was a towering basketball figure and fighter, second to none. As a National Champion he became synonymous with our state and what Hoosier’s are all about: hard work, practice makes perfect, teamwork and a commitment to excellence. His teams were built around student-athletes and his influence prepared them for life after the ball stopped bouncing. There will never be another Coach Knight and the banners that hang in Assembly Hall will forever remind us of his time, impact and dominance. When Indiana builds our Mount Rushmore of Basketball, The General will surely be on it.
Knight was best known for his tough coaching style and his focus on the fundamentals of basketball.
He was a native of Orrville, Ohio, played at Ohio State and coached at Army and Texas Tech as well.
Knight's son Pat Knight shared the following statement on behalf of the Knight family:
I just want to thank everybody for the love and support you have shown my family during this difficult time. It has been unbelievable.
I also want to thank the Indiana Pacers Organization for going above and beyond in supporting and giving me the freedom to help take care of my dad.
I want all the former players, managers, and assistant coaches to know that he really loved you all. I know my dad is in a better place now coaching and fishing. I guarantee the first player he picked to coach on his team was John Havlicek.
Lastly, I am proud to have the trifecta of being his son, player, and assistant coach. But I’m really proud that I just got to call him Dad. Once again thank you all from the bottom of my heart!
The family is asking that in lieu of flowers, donations are made to the Alzheimers Association or Marian University.