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Posted: July 07, 2017

Bob Knight investigated by FBI after complaints of inappropriate conduct

Former basketball coach Bob Knight won 902 games during his college career.
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
Former basketball coach Bob Knight won 902 games during his college career.

By Bob D’Angelo, Cox Media Group National Content Desk

Hall of Fame basketball coach Bob Knight was targeted in an FBI probe after four women at an American spy agency alleged he had groped or touched them inappropriately in encounters before a speech he made in 2015, the Washington Post reported.

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Knight, 76, who won three national titles at Indiana University before he was fired in 2000, delivered a lecture on leadership to employees at the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency on July 10, 2015. 

Knight was accused of making inappropriate comments, hugging a woman tightly around the chest and hitting another woman on the buttocks, the Post reported, citing documents compiled by investigators and interviews with three of the women.

The allegations, made public for the first time, led to criminal investigations by the FBI and the U.S. Army, the Post reported. The Pentagon, Congress and other intelligence agencies in Washington also were alerted, the newspaper reported.

Knight was interviewed at his Montana home by FBI agents in July 2016, according to the report, which was part of a yearlong criminal probe. Federal prosecutors in Virginia decided not to bring charges against Knight, his lawyer told the Post.

“There is absolutely no credible evidence to support this in our opinion, these allegations,” Indianapolis attorney James Voyles told the newspaper. He added that the FBI agents “reported to their superiors that there was no basis for any further action, period.”

Knight did not respond to requests for comment. But in a text message to Post, his wife, Karen Knight, said: “Bob did nothing wrong and there is NO evidence to prove that he did. Case closed.”

Knight won 902 games in a head coaching career that began in 1965 at Army. After leaving Indiana in 2000, he coached at Texas Tech from 2001 to 2008. He also coached the U.S. men’s basketball team to a gold medal in 1984.

On an internal blog, some NGA employees objected to the agency inviting Knight, citing his controversial actions and comments during his career.

In 1979 Knight was charged with assault on a policeman while he was coaching the U.S. basketball team during the Pan American Games in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Knight later apologized.

In a Feb. 23, 1985,  game against Purdue, Knight threw a chair onto the court after the Indiana coach objected to referees’ foul calls.

In April 1988, Knight was asked by NBC News correspondent Connie Chung how he handled stress. The coach said that “I think if rape is inevitable, relax and enjoy it.”

Knight added that the phrase “was an old term,” and said that “The plane’s down, so you have no control over it. I’m not talking about that, the act of rape. I’m not talking about that, the act of rape. Don’t misinterpret me there.”

In 1997, Knight attacked and choked player Neil Reed during a practice. Knight denied the charges, but video of the incident surfaced shortly after Reed made the allegations in 2000.

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