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Bob Knight returns to Assembly Hall for first time in decades



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Former IU men's basketball coach Bob Knight waves as fans scream "Bobby" repeatedly. Knight made an appearance inSimon Skjodt Assembly Hall during halftime of Saturday's IU versus Purdue game. Anna Tiplick

He finally returned.

Former IU men’s basketball coach Bob Knight made his first appearance back at Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall Saturday afternoon since being fired nearly two decades ago on Sept. 10, 2000.

Knight watched the first half from Cook Hall before making his way to Assembly Hall. After a video played honoring him and the 1979-80 Big Ten championship team, he walked in with former players Quinn Buckner, Steve Green, Scott May and Pat Knight.

As Knight made his way onto the court, fans started cheering, "BOBBY, BOBBY, BOBBY."

Once Knight got to halfcourt, his former players surrounded and gave him a group hug. Roughly 40 former players posed for a picture with him.

Knight then made his way over to ESPN broadcaster Dick Vitale and engaged with the student section by leading a chant of "Defense! Defense!"

Fans remained on their feet as Knight walked off the court with his arms around two players, including Isiah Thomas.

It was his first public appearance on IU's campus since attending an IU baseball game April 6 against Penn State. The appearance at the baseball game was his first since he gave his farewell speech to a crowd of more than 6,000 people in Dunn Meadow Sept. 13, 2000, three days after his firing.

Knight was fired for abuse that violated IU's zero tolerance policy.

Over his 29-year career with the program, Knight coached the team to three national championships. Under Knight, the Hoosiers reached five Final Fours and won 11 Big Ten Regular Season titles. His 659 wins with the Hoosiers are the most by a coach in program history.

Back in July, it was reported by The Herald-Times that Knight and his wife were moving back to Bloomington. IU radio broadcaster Don Fischer told a Michigan radio show in May that Knight was struggling with health issues.

On the Dan Patrick Show in 2017, Bob Knight said he would never return to IU's campus.

CORRECTION: A previous version of this story incorrectly stated the day Knight gave his farewell speech. The speech occurred on Sept. 13, 2000. The IDS regrets this error.

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