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Today in Sports History: 2/23 – Bob Knight Throws Chair Onto the Court

Today in sports history (1985), legendary college basketball coach at Indiana, Bob Knight tossed a chair across the court. Knight apparently became frustrated with the officiating, leading to the outburst.

The incident happened during a Big Ten rivalry game against Purdue. The Hoosiers and the Boilermakers were five minutes into the game when Knight snapped. Indiana was called for their third foul in a span of 59 seconds. Knight initially picked up a technical foul after yelling expletives at the officiating crew. After the screaming, Knight tossed the chair and thousands of fans watched as it slid across Assembly Hall.

Due to the intensity of a late regular season game, the place went nuts. Knight would not leave the court. Fans became so irate that coins and other small objects were thrown to the court.

Bob Knight Indiana Chair
Credit: IU Archive

Events Leading Up to Bob Knight Throwing the Chair

Bob Knight has always been looked at as one of the greatest and most intense coaches in college basketball history. Everyone knew that he had a temper, but nobody expected him to lash out the way he did.

The incident began after Indiana’s Steve Alford was called for a foul four minutes into the game. Less than a minute later, Indiana’s Marty Simmons was called for a foul during a scrap for a loose ball. Knight exclaimed that this should have been called a jump ball. Finally, Daryl Thomas was charged for a foul on an inbound pass, leading to Knight’s reaction.

All three officials on the court slammed Knight with a technical, resulting in Knight picking up three T’s. Knight was kicked out of the game with a score of 11-6, in favor of the Boilermakers. The Hoosiers battled back to take the lead, late in the first half. Purdue eventually regained the lead and never looked back, winning 72-63.

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