Indiana to honor undefeated 1976 team throughout 2015-2016 season

  • 11/06/2015 4:02 pm in

Indiana announced Friday that it will be honoring the 40th anniversary of its undefeated 1976 national championship team throughout the 2015-2016 season.

The Hoosiers will wear a commemorative patch, will hold a public recognition during a home game this season and will also induct two members of that team into the athletics Hall of Fame. Here are the complete details, via IU Athletics:

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. – Indiana University Vice President and Director of Intercollegiate Athletics Fred Glass today announced initial plans for a season long recognition to honor the 40th anniversary of the undefeated 1976 men’s basketball team. Indiana’s 1976 team remains the last undefeated NCAA men’s basketball champion and was selected as the greatest college basketball team of all-time on the 75th anniversary of the NCAA Tournament in 2013.

The season-long honoring of the 40th anniversary is being highlighted by: season tickets being mailed to fans in a folded keepsake replica of the 1976 championship banner; a commemorative patch placed on the back of IU’s home and away jerseys throughout the year; a public recognition of that perfect championship season during IU’s home game against Wisconsin on January 5, 2016; and the upcoming induction of Bobby Wilkerson and Tom Abernethy into the IU Athletics Hall of Fame. With Wilkerson and Abernethy being inducted tonight, all five starters from the 1976 undefeated team will now be in the IU Athletics Hall of Fame along with head coach Bob Knight.

“The undefeated 1976 NCAA Champions were not only the last team to enjoy a perfect season, they are rightly considered the greatest college basketball team of all-time,” said Glass. “As a life-long IU basketball fan, the 1976 team will always hold a special place in my heart and in the hearts of hundreds of thousands of other IU fans. It is a great privilege for us to honor their 40th anniversary with a season-long recognition of their singular and legendary accomplishments.”

“One of my most vivid memories as a college basketball fan was following and watching the great Indiana team of 1975-76,” said head men’s basketball coach Tom Crean. “They were tough, unselfish, determined, and relentless, but most of all they believed if they worked together as one, they would reach their ultimate goal. It has been an honor to get to spend time with and get to know so many of those associated with that team since coming to IU. They are the standard by which all college basketball teams are measured, and I’m sure that all of Hoosier Nation will treasure the opportunity to recognize the coaches, players and staff of a program that everyone in our sport aspires to emulate.”

“The 1976 National Championship team was truly one of the greatest teams in college basketball history,” said legendary “Voice of the Hoosiers” Don Fischer. The records set and the honors received by that team have stood the test of time. Having all five starters from that team inducted into the IU Athletics Hall of Fame, along with their head coach, is a testament to how special that team and their accomplishments really were. It is great to see IU Athletics continue to honor this great team in such a way.”

This season-long recognition continues IU Athletics efforts in recent years to honor the accomplishments the players and coaches from the back-to-back undefeated regular seasons which, among other things, established Knight as a legendary coach and produced four All-Americans, three Big Ten MVP’s, and a National Player of the Year. Last season, IU honored the seniors from the 1975 team that won the Big Ten Championship and finished the regular season undefeated with an on-court public recognition.

In 2013, Scott May (represented by his son Scott Jr.), Kent Benson, Isiah Thomas, Steve Alford (represented by his father), and Keith Smart (represented by Todd Meier) were also recognized in a half-time ceremony for being named as some of the greatest players in the 75 year history of the NCAA Tournament. In addition to the induction of Abernethy and Wilkerson in the IU Athletics Hall of Fame this year, Coach Knight was inducted in 2009.

More details on the season-long recognition of the 1976 Indiana Hoosiers will be announced throughout the season.

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  • HoosierStuckInKY

    So this article has been up about 15 minutes and no one has commented on the one pair of Nike shoes pictures above (or the one pair of 3 striped socks)…some would call that progress.

  • Ole Man

    Love that team. Was privileged to be in Philly and watch them win the championship in person.

  • Show-Me-State HOOSIER

    I don’t care if the 2015-16 team wears three different brands of shoes and polka-dot socks if we hang another banner….they can wear Converse, Nike, Reebok, or Adiddas for all I care! Hang #6 Hoosiers!

  • Show-Me-State HOOSIER

    LETS HANG #6!!!!!!! GO HOOSIERS!

  • Btown88

    I remember the starting 5 as Benson, May, Abernethy, Wilkerson and Buckner. Jim Crews is sitting in the first row, and could play 1-3, but who would sub for Benson?

  • Eljay

    Ditto, Ole Man. I graduated in ’76, went to every home game. Did not make it to Philly, but that had to be something. (Heck, Kirkwood was something that night!)

    What a great group.

  • enickman

    Mark Haymore. Needless to say Benson was unstoppable. A man among boys!

  • MGDC

    I believe that Haymore had actually transferred out to UMass by then.

  • Lance76

    I had the pleasure of being on campus 72-76. In 75 & 76 the game would start and somehow you just knew IU would win. Beating Michigan three times in 76 was simply a joy.

  • straight no chaser

    Cream of the crop fans right here folks, witnessed the best of Indiana Basketball. An honor to be among them. I got my first taste in 1987, but nothing like 1976 I’m sure.

  • inLinE6

    It’ll be great if Coach Knight can make it back this year and celebrate together.

  • marcusgresham

    Of course he can
    He just won’t.

  • timamac

    Benson and Alford…two New Castle boys that did good! Trojan and Hoosier for life!

  • timamac

    Yes. It’s a pity that he’s so bitter.

  • ArghSonOfOhCrap

    That ship has sailed and sunk

  • straight no chaser

    Do people go back and visit the institution that fired them? I don’t think it would be the right thing to do (regardless of what we think of Knight).

  • And One

    My mom moved us to Bloomington in the fall of ’75. In the spring of ’76, I’m a wide-eyed 11-year-old kid in the middle of a massive party on Kirkwood Avenue, and that, my friends, was the beginning of my life-long obsession. They did it again when I was in high school, yet again when I was in college. I’m ready for the next one, but that time 40 years ago was epic.

  • marcusgresham

    I didn’t know anyone wore Nikes in 1976.

  • marcusgresham

    What would Scott May have looked like with a strength & conditioning program? Yikes!

  • marcusgresham

    Denny Crum returned to Louisville just off the top of my head.

  • marcusgresham

    I’m sure it wasn’t the first game I’d watched but the first game I remember watching was the 76 championship game 16 days shy of my sixth birthday in our tiny little duplex on Ridgeview Drive in Salem.

  • straight no chaser

    Was he fired though? Maybe he was “pressured” to leave, but I also think he continued to live in Louisville, no?

  • This team was my first experience of watching sports on TV. I was 7 years old and watched EVERY game. Then afterwards went out and reenacted parts of it on my backyard goal. The next year when we finally lost, I just couldn’t figure it out. I didn’t think it was possible. I thought of IU like the Harlem Globetrotters at the time.

  • RDD#76

    I agree it’s Coach Knights choice so we all should leave it alone I just feel bad for his former players as it was a total team accomplishment both players and coaches hard to believe undefeated season has not been matched in forty years

  • RDD#76

    I was an IU fan in Wisconsin all we got were 2 Big Ten games on Saturday one was Wisky who where bad and other was the Big Ten game of the week 9 out of 10 times it was IU and then Quinn and Benny played for the Bucks

  • Norman, USA

    One way to have honored the team would have been for ITH to have posted all of names of the players as they appear.

  • straight no chaser

    I was 9 and dodging bombs in a civil war. My first reenactment was of Bruce Lee in Enter the Dragon.

  • Oldguyy

    Pretty sure that’s Haymore two to the right of Knight in the back row. Jimmy Wisman to the right of him, and Wayne Radford in front of and a bit to the right of Wisman.

  • straight no chaser

    This is what I found for the picture:

    (Front Row, L to R) Bobby Wilkerson, James Crews, Scott May, Quinn Buckner, Tom Abernethy, and Kent Benson.
    (Middle Row, L to R) Tim Walker, Rich Valavicius, Mark Haymore, Scott Eells, Wayne Radford, Bob Bender, and Manager Chuck Swenson.
    (Back Row, L to R) Coach Robert “Bobby” Montgomery Knight, Assistant Coach Harold Andreas, Jim Roberson, Jim Wisman, Assistant Coach Bob Donewald, and Assistant Coach Bob Weltlich.

  • straight no chaser

    According to the listing I found (see my post), Haymore is the third from the left in the middle row, not the back row.

  • marcusgresham

    Technically he resigned, but he was going to be fired if he didn’t. Yes, though, he still lives in country outside of Louisville.

  • marcusgresham

    Not sure about Andreas, but I know Donewald and Weltlich both became head coaches; same goes for Crews, Bender, and Buckner. Smart bunch.

  • millzy32

    Do we think that the manager/assistant or whatever he is on the far left second row was reprimanded for smiling after the picture was taken? A pretty solemn no nonsense bunch. A stark contrast from some of the pictures you would see today.

  • straight no chaser

    LOL, it looks like Knight might have been tickling him.

  • iubase

    I was there 71-75 if not for Scott Mays injury there would have been 2 undeafed seasons. Great group. Quinn also played baseball and football. Kids went to class and that team and coach are the all time best.