Two IU icons destined for greatness, Bob Knight and the “new” Assembly Hall were introduced at essentially the same time in 1971.
Knight would go on to call the building home for 30 years and lead the Hoosiers to three national titles. All together, the structure now known as Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall has been the home to IU basketball for 50 years, and it has served as a daunting venue for opposing teams. Indiana has gone nine entire seasons without losing at home — 1973, 1975, 1976, 1987, 1992, 1993, 1994, 2007, and 2016.
IU Athletics is recognizing the 50th anniversary of Simon Skjodt Assembly this season. Here is more information on the building on their plans via a release from the school.
See also: Retracing glory series – The history of Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall
Bloomington, Indiana – IU Athletics is set to celebrate the 50th birthday of its most iconic facility.
On Sept. 12, 1971, the doors opened for the first time at Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall, Indiana University’s new $26.6 million, 17,500-seat indoor arena. Originally designed to host athletic contests, concerts, conventions, and other large campus and community events, it welcomed many big names outside of athletics in its early days. Bob Hope, Bob Dylan, Elvis Presley, the Rolling Stones, the Eagles, and Elton John is just a sampling of the big-name entertainers that wowed crowds when the building was in its infancy. In more recent years The Dalai Lama, Barack Obama, Bill and Hillary Clinton, and John Mellencamp have filled the seats for events.
But for all the legendary performers, politicians, and dignitaries that set up stage in Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall, what the facility is best known for is serving as the home of Indiana Basketball for the last half century.
The facility’s opening coincided with the arrival of legendary IU Men’s Basketball Coach Bob Knight, and a nearly unequaled era of men’s basketball dominance followed. Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall was home to three IU men’s basketball NCAA Championship teams, 14 men’s regular season Big Ten Championship teams, a 50-game winning streak from 1991-95 and a 35-game win streak from 1973-76. On the women’s side, the facility welcomed 13,007 fans to see Coach Teri Moren’s team win the 2018 WNIT Championship team, and it has also been the home of two women’s Big Ten Championship squads (one regular season, one postseason).
For both men’s and women’s basketball, it has consistently attracted some of the nation’s largest and loudest crowds, creating a homecourt advantage and atmosphere that is second to none.
After a year away due to the COVID-19 pandemic, those large and loud crowds are set to return to Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall during the 2021-22 season. Throughout the course of the upcoming men’s and women’s basketball seasons, fans will be treated to a birthday celebration of sorts, as many of the great moments from the last 50 years of basketball in the facility will be recognized.
Starting with Men’s Basketball’s Nov. 9 season opener against Eastern Michigan, IU Athletics will unveil its ranking of the top men’s basketball games ever played at Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall. The game-by-game countdown, which is being sponsored by Indiana Kitchen, will culminate with the announcement of the No. 1 men’s basketball game ever played in the building during the March 2, 2022, regular season home finale against Rutgers. A recap of each game, along with video and/or photos from the contest, will be played on the video board during each home contest. An expanded version of the account of the game, including commentary from former IU players who participated in the contest, will be released the following day on IU Men’s Basketball’s social media channels.
A similar Indiana Kitchen-sponsored countdown and announcement plan will occur for IU Women’s Basketball, which played a handful of games in the building in the early 1970s before moving full-time into the building in the mid-1970s. Throughout the course of the season, IU Athletics will reveal the top women’s games ever played in Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall, culminating with the announcement of the No. 1 women’s game ever played in the facility at the Feb. 20, 2022, home finale against Iowa. An expanded version of each top game will be shared on the IU Women’s Basketball social media channels the following day as well.
As each all-time great game is announced for both the men’s and women’s programs, the extended versions of the recaps will be available at a dedicated location: www.iuhoosiers.com/50years
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