BLOOMINGTON, Ind. – Hundreds of Indiana University basketball fans learned of Coach Bob Knight’s passing Wednesday night at the very place he coached all those years ago.
The university’s women’s basketball team had a game Wednesday night. As fans gathered inside Assembly Hall, they learned Coach Knight had passed away. Screens displayed a tribute overhead and a moment of silence was held before the game.
A memorial also began taking shape outside the arena. It sat filled with flowers, balloons and candles.
As fans left Assembly Hall, many stopped by the memorial to take a moment and reflect on Knight’s legacy.
“He’s such a legend,” fan Sue Lewsader said Wednesday night.
Many fans describe Knight as a legend and an icon of IU basketball.
“The name of the Hoosiers, you know, you think IU, the first name that comes up it’s, Bob Knight,” student Josh Lanham said.
Fans of all ages said they feel a connection to Knight. Young or old, they said his energy still resonates to this day, all these years later.
“He was a great coach,” fan Mike Jones said. “No question about it.”
“The biggest thing was his persistence and love for the sport,” Lanham said.
It was bittersweet learning of the loss in the very building he once coached in, fans said. But many also said it felt right, almost sort of humbling and peaceful.
“It was the way it was supposed to be,” Jones described. “The place was dead silent. And you know, there was no applause or anything afterward, it was just the solemn occasion it was supposed to be.”
It was also a special moment for younger fans, Lanham said.
“Just being in that student section, again, we’re all there for the same reason he dedicated his whole life for,” he said. “It’s the love of basketball. The love for IU.”
While many only knew of the “General,” others recall meeting him before he helped land those three national titles.
“At the time you just thought he was this very enthusiastic young coach, not knowing many years down the line what a legend he would be,” Lewsader said.
While some fans describe Knight as a “complex guy,” they said they will miss his spirit and drive that they believe is a pivotal part of IU basketball history.
“He had his temper, yet all his players always said there was nobody there for you more than he was,” Jones said.
“It was a yell of love,” described Lanham. “He loved the sport, loved the players. He was just a fantastic guy.”