Bobby Knight Returns to Assembly Hall in Emotional Reunion with Players & Fans

Coaching legend Bobby Knight shares a laugh with son, Pat, and Quinn Buckner at Indiana on Saturday.

Herb Gould

Bob Knight, the controversial legendary coach of the Indiana Hoosiers, returned to IU’s Assembly Hall Saturday for the first time since he was fired 20 years ago.

Knight, who was helped to and from the court by his son, Pat, and other former players, looked all of his 79 years. The Hall of Fame coach, who had a sharp tongue and quick wit in his prime, did not speak, but gestured to a thrilled crowd.

Whether you were a fan of Bobby Knight or not, it was impossible not to feel the nostalgia and warmth and love that rippled through Assembly Hall.

Knight moved back to Bloomington last year from Lubbock, Tex., where he coached Texas Tech after being fired for violating IU president Myles Brand’s ``zero-tolerance’’ misbehavior policy in 2000.

The General, as he is known, had been seen informally at IU athletic events, including a baseball game last year, but had resisted the urgings of former players and supporters who wanted to honor him for winning three national championships (1976, 1981, 1987) while being a dominant force and personality in college basketball.

He did not look all that well, but I don't want to speculate beyond that.

I have many thoughts and feelings about Knight’s brilliant, but often bizarre career. Plan to share them here soon. He could be delightful to be around. And he could be impossible. But the early portion of his career at Indiana ranks among the best we have ever seen in college basketball.


Herb Gould