As a coach of athletics and a youth mentor, Robert (Bob) Knight positively influenced the lives of countless Palestine citizens. He was born in Iredell (Bosque County) in 1909, the last of eight children of William and Missouri Jane (Hand) Knight. His mother died when he was three, and his father, unable to provide for his children, admitted them to the state orphans home at Corsicana. At the state school, Bob exhibited leadership qualities as class president and captain of the basketball and football teams. His academic and athletic training continued at Sam Houston State Teachers College in Huntsville, where he helped the 1930 football team win the Texas Intercollegiate Athletic Association Championship with an undefeated record. While at Sam Houston State Knight met Wilda Virginia West, whom he later married.
In 1937 Knight began his career in the Palestine schools, coaching basketball, volleyball and physical education classes at the Junior High School. He also organized the summer baseball league and worked at the Y.M.C.A. During World War II, Knight was assigned to physical training of Naval personnel at Norfolk, Virginia, teaching them to swim. He returned to Palestine and continued to coach and teach for another three decades. Many of his students who excelled in athletics and other fields credited their success to
Coach Knight's encouragement and devotion to young people. One of his many honors stated "An orphan in this world, he gives his life to others and his courage, character and honor blesses them also." Knight retired from the Palestine school system in 1974. He died in 1989 and is buried beside his wife Wilda at Palestine's Roselawn Park.