November 17, 2022

Court named for Coach Knapton

Bill Knapton was surrounded by many of his former players, family, and friends in October at a special naming event honoring the beloved basketball coach.

Former head basketball coach and athletic director Bill Knapton Former head basketball coach and athletic director Bill Knapton
Credit: Beloit College Archives
The Flood Arena’s basketball and volleyball court was named for legendary men’s basketball coach and former Athletic Director Bill Knapton at a dedication ceremony in October during Beloiter Days. Knapton and his family members, including his wife, Joan, were in attendance.

Knapton played a pivotal role in Beloit’s historic success in men’s basketball. He joined the college in 1957 and built a 40-year legacy that included 10 league titles, 11 trips to the NCAA Division III Tournament, and 345 victories in conference play, the most in league history. He also contributed to the advancement of college basketball by serving on the NCAA Basketball Rules Committee from 1981-86, a period when the three-point line was introduced.

His accomplishments on the court and in the sport of basketball are only part of the story. Knapton was a second father to many players and a coach of much more than basketball.

“My philosophy is that any game of sport … but especially basketball, teaches competition, cements relationships we cherish throughout our lives, and develops teamwork,” Knapton said in 2003, when he was inducted into Beloit’s Athletic Hall of Honor.

Longtime Chicago Bulls beat reporter K.C. Johnson’89 wrote about Knapton’s impact when he invited fellow players to attend the court dedication.

“He proved you can be classy while being competitive,” Johnson wrote of Knapton. “He challenged you to be as strong a student in the classroom as in his practices, where he taught the game so beautifully. … In short, Knapton not only helped mold solid basketball players and prepared teams. He taught leadership, selflessness, accountability, and so many life lessons to serve us well.”

The words “Bill Knapton Court” will be added to the court’s surface when the floor is refinished next year.


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