“We lost one of the greatest coaches in the history of basketball today,” wrote former Duke men's basketball head coach Mike Krzyzewski in a statement via The Athletic's Brendan Marks.
Former Indiana head coach Bob Knight passed away Nov. 1 at age 83. Knight’s legacy in college basketball extends far — he coached at West Point and Texas Tech before and after Indiana as well as leading the U.S. Olympic team to a gold medal in 1984. With the Hoosiers, he saw five Final Fours and won three national championships, his last one coming in 1987 per a last-minute win against Syracuse. Two of Knight’s players that year — Steve Alford and Keith Smart — are coaches now in their own right.
Alford and Smart are not the only former players Knight inspired to take up coaching. He was also the man who taught Krzyzewski how to play college basketball — and made him want to teach others how to do the same.
“Coach Knight recruited me, mentored me, and had a profound impact on my career and in my life,” Krzyzewski wrote.
In 2011, the Duke legend surpassed Knight in all-time college basketball wins with 903. Knight was there when it happened, sitting courtside at Madison Square Garden to watch Duke beat Michigan State 74-69 on a Tuesday November night. According to The Chronicle, when the buzzer sounded to signify the passing over of the record, Krzyzewski walked over to Knight and gave him a hug.
"Coach,” Krzyzewski said, “I'm not sure people tell you this, but I love you and I love what you've done for me, and thank you."
Krzyzewski still holds the record for most wins, his final tally at 1,202.
Knight was infamous in the athletic community for his temper on the court, something that his former players and coaches remember fondly now. Mike Woodson, now head coach at Indiana and a former player of Knight’s, told ESPN, “He always challenged me to get the most out of myself as a player and more importantly, as a person.”
In Knight’s 21st year at the helm of the Hoosier program, he met with Krzyzewski in the Final Four. The 1992 semifinal game saw Duke beat Indiana 81-78 — student surpassing master, player catching up to coach.
Editor's note: The original version of this article, published Nov. 8, mistakenly said that Krzyzewski's 903rd win was at Cameron Indoor Stadium. It was actually at Madison Square Garden.
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Sophie Levenson is a Trinity sophomore and sports features editor of The Chronicle's 119th volume.