For almost three decades, Bobby Knight prowled the sideline at Indiana, becoming synonymous with that school.
But the man who would become the winningest basketball coach in Division I history started his career at another Big Ten school, Ohio State, and the Buckeyes have had no qualms with honoring Knight's legacy in recent times.
Just months after Knight was honored at a men's basketball game and a midday luncheon on the Ohio State campus, the university announced Friday afternoon that Knight will be inducted into the school's Varsity "O" Athletics Hall of Fame this September.
Knight will be the first to enter the Hall of Fame in the lifetime achievement category.
“Our basketball program is thrilled with this recognition of Coach Knight,” OSU head coach Thad Matta said. “Coach told me personally how honored he was last year receiving the University Ambassador medal. I know being inducted into the Athletics Hall of Fame this year is something that will also mean a great deal to him. Ohio State holds a very special place in his heart and this is another wonderful way to pay tribute to him for his career achievements.”
The lifetime achievement category was created earlier this year to honor outstanding former Buckeyes who have excelled in their careers after leaving Ohio State, and it will not be awarded every year.
The criteria for a lifetime achievement inductee is someone who has reached the highest, most exclusive level of success in his industry, sport or profession regardless of whether it's related to Ohio State.
Although better known for his coaching successes at Army, Indiana and Texas Tech, Knight lettered three seasons at Ohio State under legendary coach Fred Taylor, serving as a reserve forward on the Buckeyes' 1960 national championship team and helping the squad make appearances in the NCAA title game in both '61 and '62. He played in 74 games over the course of his career, averaging 3.8 points and 2.1 rebounds per game.
After leaving Ohio State with a degree in history and government in 1962, Knight went on to become one of the most prolific coaches in NCAA basketball history. He finished his 41-year coaching career with a 902-371 record and three national titles at Indiana. His career wins total is second only to Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski, a protégé of Coach Knight who just last year became the NCAA career wins leader.
In addition to NCAA titles in 1976, 1981 and 1987, Knight guided Indiana to 11 Big Ten championships and was the conference’s coach of the year eight times. The Orrville, Ohio, native was inducted in the Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame in 1991 and into the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame in 2011.
Upon being back at Ohio State in December, Knight said, “There’s probably three different things I’ve been eternally grateful for. One, the opportunity to get an education here at Ohio State. That’s always meant a tremendous amount to me.
“And I think the players that I got to play with, that were before me, that were after me, that I got to know and play with. Some of which we lose track a little bit, but some of which we stay very close to each other. That was a second great experience for me.
“I think the third greatest experience and I think the most important thing that ever happened to me was playing for Coach Taylor.”
For more on Knight's December trip to Ohio State, click here.
For information on the rest of Ohio State's 2012 Hall of Fame class, click here.