Former Indiana basketball coach Bob Knight returns to IU practice ahead of the North Carolina game

Legendary former Indiana basketball coach Bob Knight returned to practice today, a day before No. 10 IU’s showdown against No. 18 North Carolina in the Big Ten-ACC Challenge.

Knight has been to IU practices here and there, but due to his deteriorating health, this has been fairly infrequent.

Current IU coach Mike Woodson played for Bob Knight, and Woodson frequently mentions Knight’s name when speaking to the public about Indiana basketball or in media question-and-answer sessions.

The Knight’s Hoosiers beat North Carolina to the national title in 1981 and also ended Michael Jordan’s collegiate career in the 1984 Sweet Sixteen.

This 1984 game is one of many Knight masterpieces. North Carolina was No. 1 and had a 28-2 record with two losses by five points total. The Tar Heels had five future NBA players in Michael Jordan, Sam Perkins, Brad Daugherty, Kenny Smith and Joe Wolf; a group that scored nearly 70,000 points in the NBA.

The Hoosiers were unranked, had a 21-8 record, but upset North Carolina 72-68 when Jordan fouled by just 13 points. This Indiana team had only two players who even made it into the NBA, and Steve Alford and Uwe Blab combined for 1,249 points in the league.

Former IU coach Bob Knight is joined left to right by IU coach Tim Garl, former IU player Ted Kitchel, former IU player and current agent Randy Wittman. (Photo: Indiana University Athletics)

Bob Knight welcomes current IU basketball coach Mike Woodson. Woodson played for Knight at IU. (Photo: Indiana University Athletics)

Knight’s first public appearance at IU since his release in 2000 was on February 8, 2020. Joining a number of former players, Knight emerged from the tunnel to an ovation, signaled to the crowd — and even began a “defense chant, defense.” It was the highlight of a day that followed as Archie Miller’s Hoosiers suffered another defeat in a string of defeats to Purdue, 74-62.

Knight has been in drills here and there under Woodson, and Knight has been on some other things at IU from time to time – some that have been kept private.

Knight won three Indiana national championships and retired with the most wins of all time in Division I men’s basketball.

Knight won three national titles, eleven Big Ten titles, and his 1976 Indiana team remains the last undefeated NCAA champion.

Knight, 82, has greatly reduced his public profile since returning to Bloomington.

Knight led Indiana to the Final Fours in 1973, 1976, 1981, 1987 and 1992. His Hoosier teams won NCAA championships in 1976, 1981, and 1987.

Knight coached Indiana from 1971 to 2000. In 29 years at Bloomington, he led Indiana to 662 wins, 24 NCAA tournaments, five Final Fours and three national titles. He had a win ratio of 0.735. He had 22 seasons with 20 or more wins.

His teams once went 37-0 in Big Ten play. His 1975 team — which likely would have won the national title that year had Scott May not suffered the broken arm — went unbeaten in the Big Ten, winning by averaging 22.8 points per game.

Woodson played for Knight and was named Big Ten Player of the Year in 1980 when he returned from back surgery to lead the Hoosiers to the Big Ten title. A 1976 graduate of Broad Ripple High School, Woodson is IU’s fifth all-time leading scorer with 2,061 points and his 19.8 points per game average is second-highest with Calbert Cheaney by a Hoosier who played four seasons in college.