Family Ties

Growing up for Knight sons hasn't changed - basketball, fishing, baseball and ... basketball

Christmas Day at the Knight house meant more than Santa Claus coming down the chimney.

Christmas Day meant another day at the gym.

Provided by Knight family
Bob Knight and his two sons, Tim and Pat, far left, visit former president Ronald Reagan at the White House.

"We practice every day on Christmas since I can remember," said Pat Knight, Bob Knight's youngest son. "A couple of years (at Texas Tech), we actually took Christmas off, but that's rare. We usually practice Christmas night for as long as I can remember. Even when I was in high school, we couldn't work out on Christmas, but I'd go work out with my dad's team. So to me, Christmas is always basketball. You'd practice because you'd have a game a few days before and a few after. Holidays were always different for in our family. You'd celebrate them, but you're still going to the gym that day."

Bob Knight's oldest son, Tim, spent his first six years on a military base in West Point. More time was spent, though, at the end of the bench.

"I've been sitting on the bench since I was three or four years old," said Tim, who also has a picture taken by a local newspaper of him sitting on the Army bench when he was 4-years old. "I was always kind of a ball boy and then the older I got, a manager. I've always been on the bench, so I've pretty much always worked for him."

Pat Knight followed his father's career path that included playing for him at Indiana. After his playing career ended in 1997, Pat started his coaching career, which eventually led him back to Indiana as an assistant to Bob, and later to Texas Tech, where he will succeed his father.

Tim, though, was instructed at an early age to pursue a different avenue.

"I'll never forget, I was 12-years old and I took over the concessions at my dad's camp," Tim Knight said. "Rick Hammel was five years older than me and he would drive us down to the local pizza place and I negotiated our first pizza deal. It was then that my dad told me he didn't want me to go into coaching, he thought it would be wrong if I wasn't on the business side."

Tim also was the first to realize that his father wasn't like the other kids' fathers. His dad was Bob Knight, revered by many in Indiana, especially when the Hoosiers were winning.

"My first taste of what big-time basketball was all about was when I sat on the bench at the 1973 Final Four," Tim said. " ... I don't know if I knew more of what my dad was, but I knew what the event was. It was more knowing that my dad was the coach of this team at the biggest college basketball event of the season.

"A couple weeks before that, we ended up winning the Big Ten and about 50,000 people are driving around our neighborhood honking at our house."

Pat Knight started realizing his father was different when he would go to school and the teachers, students and administration would ask about his father.

"The teachers probably talk to you more than they do other kids because they want to know about basketball, they want to do what happened about the game before, about the players," Pat said. "Then, you have all the kids wearing Indiana basketball T-shirts. It's then that you start realizing in the community, the impact that your dad has because he's coaching a sports team and everyone's wearing the T-shirts and talking about it and it's not just the kids. You've got the principal talking to you and the teachers."

There was life beyond basketball, however. Tim Knight said he and his father often took walks along the Hudson River while the family was at West Point.