Thomas Dunne Books, Hardcover, 9780312282578, 320pp.
Publication Date: March 1, 2002
Bob Knight was a head coach in college basketball at twenty-four, coach of an unbeaten NCAA champion at thirty-five, coach of the last amateur team to win the Olympic men's basketball gold medal at forty-three, and out of a job at not quite sixty.
His shock, disappointment and anger over Indiana University's manner of firing a twenty-nine-year employee comes through clearly in his account of his last turbulent year there.
And it is his account. Few people in sports have had more books written about them. This is the first by Bob Knight - one of the most literate, candid, quoted and outspoken men in American public life telling in this first-person account of his full, rich life.
Much of that life has been in basketball, most of it because of basketball, but it also has brought him forward as a coach who has proved academic responsibility and production of championship college athletic teams not only can co-exist but should.
His excitement as things start anew for him at Texas Tech is matched here by his characteristic frankness and remarkable recollection of a life he clearly has enjoyed. You'll see why, as he tells story after story - some delightful, some hilarious, some poignant, none of them dull.
Knight, as a sophomore front-line reserve on the Ohio State team that won the NCAA championship, became the first man to play on and coach a championship team when he led his 1975-76 Indiana team to a 32-0 season that was capped by an 86-68 victory over Michigan in the NCAA championship game at Philadelphia.
His Indiana teams in 1980-81 and 1986-87 also won NCAA titles, making him one of just four coaches in history to win as many as three championships. Twenty-six years later, the 1975-76 Indiana team still stands as the last unbeaten team in major- college men's basketball. Knight's coaching career includes six seasons at Army, where his teams - during the years when the Vietnam War made recruiting for West Point difficult - won 102 games and lost 50. He is one of five coaches who have won seven hundred games, and the only coach whose teams have won championships in the NCAA tournament, the National Invitation Tournament, the Olympic Games and the Pan American Games.
During all that he has been at the heart of more controversies while running a winning and squeaky-clean program than any coach of any sport any time or anywhere.
His excitement as things start anew for him is matched here by his candor and remarkable recollection of a life he clearly has enjoyed. You'll see why, with story after story - some delightful, some hilarious, some poignant, none of them dull: the story of Bob Knight's life.
Bob Hammel was sports editor of the "Bloomington Herald-Time" for 30 years before he retired following the 1996 Olympics. He is the author of nine previous books, six of which were on Indiana basketball. Selected by his peers as Indiana Sportswriter of the Year 17 times, he has been president of the U.S. Basketball Writers Assn., the Football Writers Assn. of America, and the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Assn. He received the National Basketball Hall of Fame's Curt Gowdy Award (1995), the Silver Medal of the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame (1996), the Jake Ward Award of the College Sports Information Directors Assn. (1996), and the Bert McGrane Award of the Football Writers Assn. of America (1996). He was inducted into the U.S. Basketball Writers Assn. Hall of Fame in 1990, the Indiana Journalism Hall of Fame in 1997, and the Indiana Sportswriters and Broadcasters Assn. Hall of Fame in 1998.