Bob Knight’s legacy off the court; Funding innovation at Texas Tech University Libraries

Published: Nov. 2, 2023 at 10:46 PM CDT
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LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - While Red Raiders mourn legendary basketball coach Bob Knight, his impact is felt on the Texas Tech campus every day. His influence stretches beyond the court, to the Texas Tech University Libraries.

Knight is known for some memorable moments on the hardwood, but Brad Davis, associate development officer for Texas Tech University Libraries, says his influence off the court will impact students for decades to come.

“We all hear about his basketball, his coaching, how good he was with students to make them better. But he was all about all students,” Davis said.

Davis says Knight’s love of education began as the son of a teacher and an avid library-goer.

While Knight pushed his players to work hard in the classroom, he worked to ensure all students had the resources for success. He and his wife created the Coach Knight Basketball Library Fund, with an initial donation of $25,000 in 2001.

The couple sent letters and encouraged others to give. Davis says a donor he’s never met called in August to explain why he gave to the libraries at Texas Tech.

“He says it was all because of Bob Knight,” Davis said. “He said he was having lunch with Bob, and he said...I’ll need to give a donation to help your basketball program. And he said Coach Knight said, no, you really need to help the library. Help all the students.”

In six years, the fund garnered more than $350,000 in support. Davis says Knight’s passion later inspired others to give another $250,000 for state-of-the-art resources.

“They’re not the libraries that people imagine 10 or 20 years ago. They’ve changed totally, so it’s not all about books. There’s a lot more to the library than that aspect of it,” Davis said.

The donations have funded study spaces, an advanced recording studio, podcast studios, a makerspace and more. Davis says Knight’s support now impacts 60,000 students every week.

“The more students come to the library, they’re more likely to succeed. It leads to student success and because of him, he really promoted the library and the importance of it, and there hasn’t been a better spokesperson,” Davis said.

To keep Knight’s legacy alive, donate to the Coach Knight Basketball Library Fund.