SAN FRANCISCO — A pair of coaching legends, that’s about where the similarities stop between Steve Kerr and Bob Knight, who died Wednesday at the age of 83.
Kerr, 58, didn’t cross paths much with Knight but shared one moment between them in 1986, when Kerr was on summer break from the University of Arizona and Knight was doing television commentary in the offseason from his coaching duties at Indiana. Kerr was playing for Team USA in the World Championships when Knight visited the team during practice after a loss.
“He pulled me aside and basically went on a tirade. I had never met him before,” Kerr said. “He said, ‘I want you to take those bleepin’ bleep teammates of yours and bleep bleep and tell them to bleep bleep. I said Yes, sir, Coach Knight.’ And then I went to the players and said, ‘Hey, Coach Knight just encouraged us to play well tonight.’ He was terrifying. Terrifying. Not gonna lie.”
Knight employed his infamous temper to great success, accumulating 902 wins, three national championships and five Final Four appearances over a 43-year career as a collegiate head coach. Kerr has found equal success in the NBA with a vastly different style.
“Nobody will ever forget him with that personality and that demeanor and the way he went about his business,” Kerr said. “Very complex guy. But an amazing coach in many ways.”