Bobby Knight, the iconic American basketball coach, left an enduring legacy in the world of sports. With a coaching career spanning almost three decades, Knight’s influence on the game was substantial, but it was not without its share of controversy.
Beyond the basketball court, his financial success, personal life, and post-coaching career were equally fascinating. In this article, we delve into Bobby Knight’s net worth, coaching journey, and his life both on and off the court.
Bobby Knight’s Net Worth
Despite his controversies, Bobby Knight managed to accumulate a net worth of $8 million during his coaching career. His salary during his last year with the Indiana Hoosiers was $163,118, and he enjoyed several perks, including a new car every year and access to the team’s private plane for official business.
Additionally, his two sons received free undergraduate tuition, thanks to his contract. Knight supplemented his income with outside sources, such as deferred compensation, clothing endorsements, and speaking fees.
When he joined Texas Tech in 2001, Knight signed a five-year contract worth $2.5 million, broken down into base salary, deferred income, and guaranteed outside income.
Bobby Knight’s Coaching Triumphs
Bobby Knight was best known for his time with the Indiana Hoosiers, where he led the team to incredible success. During his tenure from 1971 to 2000, Knight achieved remarkable milestones. His impressive coaching achievements include:
1. NCAA Championships and Big Ten Titles: Knight secured three NCAA championships and a whopping 11 Big Ten Conference titles, making him one of the most successful college basketball coaches in history. Two undefeated seasons added to his illustrious career.
2. Coaching Records: Within NCAA Division I, Knight recorded an astounding 902 victories, setting a record that held until his retirement.
3. Army and Texas Tech: Knight also made his mark while coaching the Army Black Knights and Texas Tech University. At Texas Tech, he tallied 126 wins and improved the program significantly.
4. Olympic Gold: Knight coached the US men’s basketball team to a gold medal at the 1984 Summer Olympics.
The Controversies and Departure
While Bobby Knight was celebrated for his coaching prowess, he was no stranger to controversy. His fiery temper and frequently abusive behavior, including an infamous chair-throwing incident, often made headlines.
Knight’s career at Indiana came to an abrupt end in 2000 when an investigation revealed he had choked a former player during practice, with other instances of student abuse emerging. This controversial departure elicited mixed reactions across the country.
Following his retirement from coaching in 2008, Bobby Knight transitioned into a part-time commentator role with ESPN, where he provided insights and analysis for college basketball games until 2015.
Books and Legacy
Bobby Knight’s life and coaching career has been the subject of numerous books, with John Feinstein’s “A Season on the Brink” standing out as a landmark bestseller. This book, which chronicles the 1985-86 Indiana Hoosiers season, was even adapted into an ESPN television film in 2002. Knight himself co-authored an autobiography, “Knight: My Story,” with sports journalist Bob Hammel in 2003.
Personal Life and Philanthropy
In his personal life, Knight married Nancy Falk in 1963, and the couple had two sons before divorcing in 1985. In 1988, he wed former high school basketball coach Karen Edgar. In later years, Knight’s health began to deteriorate, a fact evident in his public appearances.
Knight was not just about basketball; he held education in high regard and made significant donations to the schools he worked for. His contributions included endowing chairs at Indiana University and raising substantial funds for IU’s library system. He also supported Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign.
The Knights owned a newly built home in Bloomington, Indiana, and a modest residence in Lubbock, Texas. Their real estate holdings reflected Knight’s connection to the universities where he had a coaching career.
Conclusion: Bobby Knight’s life and career were marked by both triumphs and controversies. His exceptional coaching journey, financial success, and contributions to the world of sports left an indelible mark. Despite the ups and downs, Bobby Knight’s legacy endures, and his net worth reflects the remarkable career of a man who truly loved the game of basketball.