Basketball Hall of Fame coach Bob Knight has died at the age of 83. In 42 seasons coaching college basketball, Knight accumulated 902 wins, the sixth-most of all-time. He made 28 NCAA Tournaments and came away from three of his five Final Fours with national championships, all of them with Indiana.
Notre Dame was a regular opponent of Knight’s Hoosiers, who asserted their dominance in the series with 21-6 record during those years. However, the Irish won their first game against Knight in the 1968 NIT, when he was coaching Army.
The Irish also were witnesses to one of the many incidents Knight was involved in during his career. In a 1993 game between the teams, he screamed at and kicked his son, Pat, and subsequently was suspended for one game.
In 2010, two years after Knight coached the final game of his career for Texas Tech, he got in some digs at Notre Dame during a public speaking engagement. He began by referring to Sam Perkins and fellow Hall of Famer Chris Mullin, two players he coached to the gold medal in the 1984 Olympics:
“They were two smart Catholic boys. They should advise Notre Dame to go in the Big Ten, because there are some dumb Catholic boys up there. They have no idea how much it would change their recruiting.”
Since then, of course, Notre Dame has joined the Big Ten for hockey and the ACC for all other sports but remained independent in football. Still, that had to have ruffled a few feathers in South Bend at the time.
In spite of everything, Knight accomplished a lot in his career and deserves to be celebrated for it. May he rest in peace.
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