(CNN) — Bob Knight, who was one of college basketball’s winningest coaches and who guided Indiana University to three national championships, has died at the age of 83, his family announced on Wednesday.
The family did not immediately release the cause of death for the man who most famously coached the Indiana Hoosiers from 1971 to 2000, and whose 1976 title-winning team is the most recent men’s Division I squad to finish the season unbeaten.
“It is with heavy hearts that we share that Coach Bob Knight passed away at his home in Bloomington (Indiana) surrounded by his family,” his family posted to his 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.”
Before retiring in 2008, Knight won a then-record 902 NCAA Division I men’s games. Knight bookended his 29 seasons in Bloomington with successful stints at the US Military Academy and Texas Tech University.
Known as “The General,” Knight won 11 Big Ten Conference titles and 662 games in 29 seasons at Indiana. The four-time National Coach of the Year led the team to five Final Fours. Knight also coached the gold medal-winning US men’s basketball team during the 1984 Summer Olympics Games in Los Angeles.
Indiana dismissed Knight in 2000 after what the school said at the time was “a pattern of unacceptable behavior.” He then coached at Texas Tech for seven seasons, leading the Red Raiders to four NCAA men’s tournament appearances.
He was inducted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame in 1991, the College Basketball Hall of Fame in 2006 and the IU Athletics Hall of Fame in 2009.
Mike Krzyzewski, the legendary former Duke coach whom Knight coached at Army in the late 1960s, paid tribute to Knight on Wednesday, saying “we lost one of the greatest coaches in the history of basketball today.”
“Clearly, he was one of a kind. Coach Knight recruited me, mentored me, and had a profound impact on my career and in my life. This is a tremendous loss for our sport and our family is deeply saddened by his passing,” said Krzyzewski, now the NCAA Division I leader with 1,202 wins after his retirement in 2022.
Quinn Buckner, a star on Indiana’s 1976 national title team and chairman of IU’s board of trustees, said this was “a terribly sad day for the IU basketball family, Indiana University, the state of Indiana, and the world of sports as we say goodbye to Coach Knight.”
“One of the things that he said to our 1976 team … was that you may never see another team like this again,” Buckner said Wednesday. “Well, I don’t know that we will ever see another coach like him again. I think it’s important for people to realize that. It was a special opportunity to have been coached by him, and an equally special opportunity to have him as a friend. Because as great a coach as he was, he was an infinitely better friend. He’s a big part of who we are, and we were very fortunate to have had him in our lives.”
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