We see these flags a lot here in Indiana. The image can also be seen on license plates attached to the front bumpers of cars.
She went to Indiana for two years but graduated from Purdue. My son graduated from Purdue. I went to art school in Chicago but my basketball allegiance is with The Indiana Hoosiers for many reasons. We are a house divided.
While she was at IU her roommate was dating one of the starting varsity scholarship basketball players and the two eventually got married. He graduated in '75 and missed playing in the perfect ’76 season and on the eventual national championship team. From ‘75 to ’76 the Indiana Basketball record was 63-1. From then on I watched religiously as IU, coached by the great General himself, went on to enjoy one of the best Big11Ten basketball eras of all time. I am still a big fan and follower of Hoosier basketball.
Many of my friends attended IU so I spent a lot of time on campus during weekends and in the summer. It was as if I went to school there without going to class and paying the tuition. Bloomington has so much to offer for a college town, it’s a beautiful campus and the surrounding area provides numerous opportunities for off campus activities such as limestone caves to explore and abandoned limestone quarries in the wooded hillside areas to swim in. Lake Monroe was good for bass fishing and we rented houseboats there for weekend parties. If you've ever seen the movie Breaking Away you know what I mean. And did they know how to party in Bloomington!
In contrast Purdue was a bit on the boring side. Today there are a lot more bars and clubs near campus but back then there was nothing to do off campus anywhere near Lafayette, IN beside detasseling corn or cow tipping. Boring and flat. Back then Purdue was similar to the University of Illinois with a far better engineering school.
In October of 1987 (the season after the Indiana ‘87 NCAA championship Keith Smart three-point buzzer beater) while working on a marketing campaign for Pratt & Lambert I suggested using The General to endorse their new wood floor care products. The idea sold. My partner Larry and I spent a classic autumn day on campus with the coach along with a professional photographer and a video crew taking promotional photographs and filming trade and instructional videos with him.
Coach Knight was a true gentleman and even took the time to give me pointers while I shot from the three stripe on the Assembly Hall floor, which we had all to ourselves until practice started at 5pm. The coach could shoot for 3’s as if he were a 21 year old missing very few shots. Here’s a photo of the three of us that day. My old partner, Larry, is on the left.
The only time the coach raised his voice was when we first met. He looked at me and very firmly asked, “so why the fvck aren’t you wearing a red sweater?” Thinking quickly after noticing I was wearing a gray sweater responded, “It’s in honor of your playing days at Ohio State, coach”. He smiled and said,"bullsh!t!"
On my shelf in my office is the personalized autographed souvenir basketball that Coach Knight gave me. I have a few Bob Knight stories from that day. Maybe around final four time I will write about them. The man you see unjustly demonized on television is definitely not the man I spent the day with.
We created brochures, specification sheets, sales material, print ads and my favorite, life size cut-out displays of the coach that were used to promote the Fabulon line of floor care products that appeared in home improvement centers. A few years later while visiting Bloomington I saw some of these (obviously stolen) displays in a bar and at the campus bookstore.
During all those years Purdue was one of the few teams close to challenging Indiana for the Big11Ten conference championship. Kentucky was the big rival and Purdue was the Big11Ten rival. I attended a few Indiana Purdue conference matchups at both Assembly Hall and Mackey Arena. One most memorable was in ’75 at Mackey when Scott May broke his arm and went down for the season, crippling the team for a run at the title and losing to Kentucky which went on to the final four.
All that being said (I honestly can’t believe I am doing this) I hope Purdue does well in the NCAA Tournament. I will be pulling for them to go farther than the other Big11Ten teams. The reason? Purdue forward Robbie Hummel is a Valparaiso kid. Everything I see on televised games and what i read and hear locally tells me this is one good kid and a hell of a player.
This kid is only a sophomore yet stood up to the best the Big11Ten had to throw at him in the season ending 2009 Big11Ten tournament. He was named MVP of that tournament. So Go Robbie!
And Go Purdue!
There. I said it.