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Thursday, June 13
The Indiana Daily Student

sports men's basketball

Bob Knight’s lasting legacy with Indiana men’s basketball remains prevalent

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Bob Knight is synonymous with Indiana basketball. The Hoosiers coaching legend accumulated one of basketball’s most impressive resumes in his 29 seasons at Indiana, and his impact on the program, state and national landscape has yet to be forgotten — and it never will. 

When Knight passed on Nov. 1, 2023, at the age of 83, it sent shockwaves throughout Bloomington. The General commanded every room he walked in, every team he coached and every community he helped serve, but he had served his final duties and was called to rest. 

When Knight arrived at IU in 1971, the Hoosiers were a well-respected program with two National Championships. When he left in 2000, Indiana was an annual contender for national titles — a “blue blood” of the sport.  

Knight won more than any coach in the Hoosiers’ illustrious history, before or since. He claimed three National Championships, 11 Big Ten Championships and an NIT title with Indiana. Additionally, he won one of the country’s greatest honors — an Olympic gold medal in 1984. 

Knight was more than a basketball coach, however, but a leader of men. He placed a strong emphasis on academics, claiming a 98% graduation rate for his players. He fostered relationships with his players and developed them past their Indiana careers, most notably Landon Turner after his paralysis. 

The General’s successes, expressive sideline antics and rugged but rewarding coaching style created an army of Hoosier faithfuls. The Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame motto says, “In 49 states, it’s just basketball... This is Indiana,” and under Knight’s guidance, Indiana’s fan base became known for what it remains to this day — one of the most passionate followings in all levels of basketball. 

Upon Knight’s firing in 2000, he spoke to the IU student body one final time, addressing a crowd of over 6,000 — a testament to Knight’s strong support. He bid his farewell and asked for the best for him and his family, and in an instant, the Knight era was over. 

Over the next two decades, Knight hardly addressed his time at IU. He went on to coach Texas Tech University for seven seasons, where he became the then-all-time leader in Division I coaching wins with 902 victories. 

Still, Indiana never gave up on Knight. He was largely favored within the fan base and Hoosier fans had no problem expressing their appreciation and support for him. Knight wouldn’t admit it at the time, but he was always going to be a Hoosier. 

However, on Feb. 8, 2020, everything came full circle. At halftime against in-state rival Purdue, a hoard of former Indiana players were announced and honored at midcourt. Then, Bob Knight emerged from the tunnel. 

Simon Sjkodt Assembly Hall erupted. The sold-out crowd of 17,222 rained down chants of “Bobby! Bobby!” The General returned home where he belonged.

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