Coach Bob Knight Quotes

Bobby Knight

“You don’t play against opponents, you play against the game of basketball.”

“Your biggest opponent isn’t the other guy. It’s human nature.” -Sports Illustrated, January 1981

“The key is not the will to win… everybody has that. It is the will to prepare to win that is important.”

“Everyone wants to be on a winning team, but no one wants to come to practice.”

“Mental toughness is to physical as four is to one.”

“If I came in to recruit your son, I would tell you, your wife, and your son, that I will be the most demanding coach your son can play for.”

“You are never going to be driven anywhere worthwhile, but you sure as hell drive yourself to a lot of great places. It is up to you to drive yourself there.” – Bloomington Herald-Times, November 1992


“God couldn’t care less if we win or not. He is not going to parachute in through the roof of this building and score when we need points.” – Talking to Steve Alford, “Playing for Knight”

“Richard, who the hell is going to guard him, God? God’s not going to guard him Richard. The Methodists control God and they’re not going to let us use him.” -To Richard Mandeville after a blown defensive assignment in practice.

“I tell them [IU players] that wherever you start in life there will be others above you. Get used to it now.” -talking about his ‘I’m the boss’ coaching style, Time 1976

“Failure, to me, is not having the desire to try. Having the desire to try is in its own way success.” -Herald Times November 1993

SI Cover

“It is better to anticipate than to react.”

“We got beat by a much better team. Because they are a much better team than we are. I don’t think I can sum it up any better than that.”

“I’m not a great positive thinker. By that I mean I prepare for things that can go wrong. In golf, if you think about things that can go wrong, you’re in trouble.”

“I want a persistent player, not the consistent player. I want a team that is persistent, unyielding, enduring, staying with something despite obstacles.” -Herald Times December 1985

“A motivator isn’t always the guy who just pats you on the ass. He’s the guy who kicks you in the ass occasionally.” -Indianapolis Monthly December 1982

Coach Knight

“Right here is the key to success in coaching. Probably no motivational device I’ve ever come across is as good as this.”-brandishing a bullwhip, a gift from his players

“We should not have to push you to work hard, you should work hard because you want to be a great player.”

“I don’t think that you have time to teach a variety of things and teach them well. I think you’ve got to teach a few things about the game of basketball to your players and teach them as well as you possibly can.”

“One of the most important things for a player to have during drill work is an imagination. He must imagine that it is a game-like situation.”

“Everybody hears, but few listen.”

The Two Coaches

“It’s always been my contention that you can do a lot more to develop mental quickness than you can physical quickness. Physical quickness, for the most part, is something that you either have or don’t have.”

“Most people have the will to win, few have the will to prepare to win.”

“Congratulations on the birth of your first child. I’m glad to hear that mother and son are doing well. P.S. Don’t ever let your husband hold this kid over anything but a bed.” -congratulating Uwe Blab’s wife (Uwe had let the ball get away from him more than once or twice.)

Coach K and Coach Knight

“A player enters the Hall of Fame on his ability. A coach enters on the ability of his players.” -referring to his induction to the Hall of Fame, February 1991

“A B.S. is just what it stands for. An M.S. is More of the Same. A PhD. is Piled Higher and Deeper.” -A Season on the Brink

“Discipline: doing what you have to do, and doing it as well as you possibly can, and doing it that way all the time.” -Sports Illustrated January 1981



Of course, I am a Bobby Knight fan. I was an undergrad at Indiana in Bloomington, when we had that perfect season.

About jayhack2012

I help you find actionable insight.
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