Knight, 67, who won his 902nd game Saturday when the Red Raiders downed Oklahoma State, will be replaced by his son, Pat. Knight informed athletic director Gerald Myers of his decision Monday morning. There had been no hint the move was coming.
"Coach Knight has had a great career. His coaching record speaks for itself. His love for basketball is clear, but most importantly his love for teaching and the students has been a hallmark of his tenure here at Texas Tech," said Sally Logue Post, a spokeswoman for the school.
Knight - who has had 29 20-win seasons - had signed a three-year contract extension in September that was to run through the 2011-12 season. In 2005, Pat Knight was appointed his father's successor. The Daily Toreador, Texas Tech's student newspaper, reported that on his weekly radio show, Pat Knight said his dad decided to step down because he was tired.
"I just hope he is healthy," former UNLV coach Jerry Tarkanian told Rivals.com. "You kind of worry with it being the middle of the year. His son already had the job, so that was not a factor. I just really hope he is healthy.
"I've always admired Bobby. He was a tremendous coach, but he was also really loyal. I respect loyalty over anything else, and he was always very loyal to me. I love him."
Knight won three national titles at Indiana, in 1976, '81 and '87. The '76 team finished unbeaten, a feat no team has matched in the ensuing seasons. In all, he took the Hoosiers to 24 NCAA tournament appearances and reached the Final Four two other times.
LIKE FATHER, LIKE SON
Bob Knight was replaced as Texas Tech's coach by his son, Pat. Here are some other notable father-son coaching duos with at least one current coach (* - denotes out of coaching):
BARTOW Father: Gene Bartow (647-353 at Central Missouri State, Valparaiso, Memphis State, Illinois, UCLA and UAB) Son: Murry Bartow (192-140 at UAB and East Tennessee State)
BENNETT Father: Dick Bennett (490-303 at Wisconsin-Stevens Point, UW-Green Bay, Wisconsin and Washington State)* Son: Tony Bennett (43-13 at Washington State)
DAVIS Father: Tom Davis (598-355 at Lafayette, Boston College, Stanford, Iowa and Drake)* Son: Keno Davis (20-1 at Drake)
DREW Father: Homer Drew (585-369 at Bethel College, IU-South Bend and Valparaiso) Son: Scott Drew (72-84 at Valparaiso and Baylor)
MONSON Father: Don Monson (216-186 at Idaho and Oregon)* Son: Dan Monson (122-122 at Gonzaga, Minnesota and Long Beach State)
SUTTON Father: Eddie Sutton (800-322 at Creighton, Arkansas, Kentucky, Oklahoma State and San Francisco) Son: Scott Sutton (159-107 at Oral Roberts), Sean Sutton (32-24 at Oklahoma State)
THOMPSON Father: John Thompson (596-239 at Georgetown)* Son: John Thompson III (158-74 at Princeton and Georgetown)
WELSH Father: Jerry Welsh (502-205 at Potsdam State and Iona)* Son: Tim Welsh (209-145 at Iona and Providence)
Knight passed former North Carolina coach Dean Smith as the winningest Division I coach on Jan. 1, 2007, getting career win No. 880. To celebrate the milestone, Knight chose Frank Sinatra's "My Way" as a mantra for how he navigated his personal and professional worlds.
Knight had been contemplating retiring for the last few days. He called his longtime friend and former UTEP coach Don Haskins, a fellow Hall of Famer who has known Knight since the 1960s, over the weekend and told Haskins he was about to retire, but not to tell anybody.
"I didn't tell anybody because I didn't believe him," Haskins told Dan Wetzel of Yahoo! Sports. "But he said he was just tired of coaching."
During his tenure at Texas Tech, Knight was 138-82, and he led the Red Raiders to the NCAA Tournament in four of his six seasons, reaching the Sweet 16 in 2005. The Red Raiders are 12-8 this season and 3-3 in the Big 12, tied for sixth in the conference with Oklahoma.
"He was known as a defensive-minded coach, but I always thought he was best at coaching offense," Tarkanian said. "They can't stop his motion offense. That's why he has had some good teams at Texas Tech."
Knight is one of six men who have played and coached in the Final Four. He played for Ohio State when the Buckeyes reached the Final Four in 1960, '61 and '62. He and Dean Smith are the only men who have played and coached for a national champion.
Knight's three national titles are tied for third-most, behind John Wooden's 10 and Adolph Rupp's four. Mike Krzyzewski, who played for Knight at Army, also has three titles. Krzyzewski began his college coaching career as a graduate assistant at Indiana under Knight in 1974.
Knight's five Final Four appearances are tied for sixth all-time.
He also coached U.S. teams to gold medals in the 1979 Pan American Games and the 1984 Olympics.
Knight perhaps is as well-known for his temper and behavior as he is for his win total. He was fired at Indiana on Sept. 10, 2000, by then-IU president Myles Brand for what Brand termed a continuing pattern of "defiant and hostile" behavior.
He's a complex package, someone who can hit a policeman, throw a chair across the court or be accused of wrapping his hands around a player's neck, yet never gets in trouble for breaking NCAA rules and gave his salary back a few years ago because he didn't think he'd earned it.
"Maybe he thought it was the right time for Pat and give him a shot," former Temple coach John Chaney said.
Knight always has taken great pride in the academic achievement of his players. During his coaching career, which began in 1965 at Army, all but four of his four-year players completed degrees - a ratio of nearly 98 percent.
He began his head-coaching career in 1965 at Army, where at 24 he was the youngest-ever Division I coach.