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Young and old honoring Coach Knight on IU campus

Remembering Bob Knight

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (WISH-TV) — For nearly three decades, the sound of Indiana University Head Men’s Basketball Coach Bob Knight yelling at a referee was commonplace inside Assembly Hall, but, on Wednesday night, before an exhibition for IU women’s basketball, Public Address Announcer Jeremy Gray told fans in attendance that sound would never again be heard inside the iconic gym.

“It was as quiet as I’ve ever heard that building, including when I walk in there alone,” Gray said.

In some ways, Gray said, Knight transcended the game of basketball.

“Maybe viewers of yours who are under the age of 35 or so don’t understand the magnitude of what he meant, but there are very few genuine crossover celebrity coaches in the history of American sports. I put names like Knute Rockne, Bear Bryant, Vince Lombardi on the list. Bob Knight’s on that list. I actually don’t know if there’s an active coach that would be on that list,” Gray said.

People of all ages have come to Assembly Hall to pay homage to the man who brought banners to Indiana University. Tyler Kunkel, a junior at Indiana University, said, “I wasn’t even born when he was a coach.”

When Kunkel got the news he immediately called his parents who attended IU in the 1990s.

“My mom started crying. She was really upset. I tried to help her feel better, but he was a big part in their lives. It’s unfortunate, but I wasn’t born early enough to be around when he was coaching,” Kunkel said.

Jerry Boswell-Dike was around when Bob Knight was coaching. Knight’s death sparked a memory of a game he went to with his mom. “Picked up the tickets, and they said ‘ordered by Knight’ on the tickets, so we ended up sitting right behind the bench for quite possibly one of the worst games ever at Assembly Hall. We heard the full spectrum of the Bob Knight coaching that night. He was very colorful,” Boswell-Dike said.

That colorfulness is one of the reasons the legacy of Knight is a complicated one. He was never one to mince words, and his temper is as legendary as his coaching, but make not mistake about it, his legacy will forever flow through the veins of Indiana Basketball.

Gray said, “There has not been a figure in basketball in the state of Indiana that mattered more for as long as Bob Knight did, and I do think that he is a huge driving force of why basketball is just a little bit extra in this state.”

Indiana University will honor Robert Montgomery Knight with patches on every player’s jersey with his initials: RMK.