Return of the Hoosier: Knight back at Indiana after 20 years

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BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (AP) – Bob Knight ended his 20-year split with Indiana on Saturday.

The 79-year-old combustible coach was on campus and was expected to be honored at Assembly Hall during halftime of the Hoosiers’ game against rival Purdue.

School officials were also to salute Knight’s 1980 Big Ten championship team, which featured Isaiah Thomas and Randy Wittman. Former Purdue coach Gene Keady, a friend and rival of Knight’s, also was to be recognized.

Knight won 662 games and three national championships in 29 seasons with the Hoosiers before he was fired on Sept. 10, 2000 after a student accused Knight of grabbing him in the hallway of Assembly Hall. The university had initiated a zero-tolerance policy for Knight earlier that year following an investigation that he choked a former player, the late Neil Reed.

Knight finished his career at Texas Tech, retiring in 2008 with a then-record 902 victories.

But Knight never forgave the university for his ouster. He declined to come back for any ceremonies honoring his championship teams and didn’t even attend his induction into the school’s athletic Hall of Fame in 2009. At the time, he issued a statement in which he said he didn’t want to be a distraction to the other inductees.

Still, athletic director Fred Glass stayed in touch with Knight through the years, hoping one day the icy relationship would thaw. Then last spring, Knight surprised everyone by showing up for an Indiana baseball game.

He also moved back to Bloomington last year and there was speculation for weeks he might soon return to Assembly Hall.

Knight made public appearances around the city and state, making speeches, signing autographs and attending games and practices.

Some thought he would come back to watch his alma mater, Ohio State, when the Buckeyes visited Assembly Hall on Jan. 11. Instead, he watched Marian, an NAIA school in Indianapolis, where one of his former players, Steve Downing, is the athletic director.

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