Duke basketball: Mike Krzyzewski reflects on death of mentor Bob Knight

Duke basketball head coach Mike Krzyzewski and Bob Knight (Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images)
Duke basketball head coach Mike Krzyzewski and Bob Knight (Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images) /

Duke basketball head coach Mike Krzyzewski reflected on the passing of Bob Knight. 

The college basketball world was hit with the unfortunate news on Wednesday night that Bob Knight, the former Indiana head coach and Hall of Famer, passed away and tributes to the controversial icon in the sport have been pouring in, including from former Duke basketball head coach Mike Krzyzewski.

Krzyzewski began his career under Knight when the future Blue Devil was a point guard at Army.

After his time in the service had concluded, the Chicago native joined Knight’s staff with the Hoosiers as an assistant for a season before landing his first head coaching job at West Point.

Coach K then became the head coach at Duke five years later and the rest was history as he would go on to win five National Championships and become the winningest college basketball coach of all time.

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Krzyzewski surpassed Knight, who retired with the record of 902 wins, as the all-time wins leader in men’s college basketball on November 15, 2011 against Michigan State with his mentor on the ESPN broadcast at Madison Square Garden.

“We lost one of the greatest coaches in the history of basketball today,” Krzyzewski said in a statement provided by The Athletic’s Brendan Marks.

“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.”

Knight won three National Championships as a coach at Indiana.

“We offer our sincerest condolences to Karen, Tim, Pat, and their families during this difficult time,” Krzyzewski concluded.

Duke basketball head coach had major falling out with mentor

Mike Krzyzewski always credited Bob Knight with starting his career but the two grew apart as the years progressed, as highlighted in the book by Ian O’Connor, Coach K: The Rise and Reign of Mike Krzyzewski.

The fracturing of the relationship began, according to the book, when Duke defeated Indiana in the 1992 Final Four, 81-78, and Knight did not acknowledge Krzyzewski in the post game handshake line or following the game.

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The Blue Devils went on to win its second consecutive National Championship with a victory over Michigan a day later.

The book says the relationship completely fell through in 2015 at an event held to honor the 50th anniversary of Knight’s first team at Army when the head coach completely ignored Krzyzewski when he greeted him at his table.

Bob Knight was fired as the head coach of Indiana in 2000 and never returned to the university until February 2020 in which he received a standing ovation from the crowd.

Knight was 83 years old.

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