BLOOMINGTON -- The easy part was selecting Bob Knight as a member of the Indiana Athletic Hall of Fame. The hard part will be getting the former basketball coach to show up for November’s induction ceremonies.
Knight was one of seven Hoosier greats to be selected. He was the only one to be fired.
Knight’s 2000 dismissal caused hard feelings. He has not returned to the campus since he left. Current IU coach Tom Crean is working to get him to come back. Most of the people who were involved in the decision to fire Knight, including former president Myles Brand, are no longer affiliated with the university.
Knight’s record made the Hall of Fame selection a no brainer. He went 662-239 at IU with a Big Ten record 11 conference championships. His teams won three NCAA titles (1976, ’81 and ’87), including the 32-0 squad of 1976. He coached 16 All-Americans and nine Big Ten MVPs. He won six Big Ten coach of the year awards and four national coach of the year honors.
Counting his seasons with Army and Texas Tech he is the winningest coach in NCAA history with a career record of 902-371.
Knight’s selection was well deserved, IU football coach Bill Lynch said.
“The success and impact he had on so many people is remarkable,” Lynch said. “I didn’t really know him, but growing up in the state and playing basketball (Lynch was a basketball and football standout at Indianapolis Bishop Chatard in the early 1970s), I know he had a tremendous impact on basketball across the state. Everybody incorporated what they were doing offensively and defensively from him. He had a tremendous career here.”
Also selected was former men’s soccer coach Jerry Yeagley, who won six national titles and 10 Big Ten crowns along with a NCAA-record 544 victories. He was Big Ten coach of the year eight times and national coach of the year six times.
Former basketball player Steve Downing also was selected. He was the Big Ten MVP in 1973 and led the Hoosiers to the Final Four. He averaged 20.1 points and 10.6 rebounds as senior to earn All-America honors. He played two years with the NBA’s Boston Celtics. He was as associate athletic director at IU for 20 years. He’s currently a senior associate athletic director at Texas Tech.