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With a unique perspective, former IU head coach Archie Miller reflects on Bob Knight: ‘Brilliant coach and also a brilliant person’



Bob Knight
Archie Miller, the head coach at Indiana when Bob Knight made his return in 2020, reflects on Knight's legacy. (AP Photo/Doug McSchooler)

As Wednesday night and Thursday — and beyond — come and go, it will bring many stories and memories about legendary Indiana head coach Bob Knight. After the news of his passing on Wednesday, former players, coaches and fans — associated with the Indiana basketball program and not — took time to reminisce about the all-time great.

While everyone has a unique perspective, there is one person who may have the most unique. That is former Indiana head coach Archie Miller. Miller, who coached Indiana from 2017-2021, was on the sidelines for one of the most emotional moments in Indiana basketball program history. The return of Bob Knight to Assembly Hall.

It was Feb. 8 , 2020 — just a few weeks before the college basketball and the world shut down due to the Covid pandemic. As the crowd sat patiently and quietly in Assembly Hall, Knight and a handful of his former players walked out onto the court. It was the first time Knight was back in Assembly Hall since his firing in 2000.

“I think, hopefully, that makes those guys and everybody that’s been a part of the long-standing tradition that only played here coached here and obviously all our fans, hopefully that makes some things go in a different direction moving forward, continuing to tie things together. So very, very happy about that for those guys,” Miller said postgame. ” … that’s a big step. And it means a lot to a lot of people. And, like I said, I’m really happy for a lot of people, that they were able to experience that today.”

On Wednesday, Miller offered more words about Knight — this time, in a more somber tone.

“He and his family – Pat, his son – were so generous to me upon coming to Bloomington,” Miller said. “It’s not very often that anyone got any positive feedback from him when a coach came in. He gave me an opportunity to get off to a good start there. The family was really good to me. It’s sad because I think he was such a brilliant coach and also a brilliant person. As time has moved on here he sort of started to deteriorate in the last couple years.

“In my opinion, there’s not four or five coaches in the game of basketball, period, who were as good as him. In my time there I was treated very well by the Knight family. Thoughts and prayers go out to them.”

Miller is now the head coach at Rhode Island but even after his time at Indiana didn’t work as planned, he was still grateful for the moments he had in Bloomington and the ability to learn from Bob Knight — the ‘imprint of this program’.

“There’s no doubt about it, the imprint of this program,” Miller told former IU player AJ Guyton on his podcast back in 2020.  “The tradition of the program, all the great players that came here and played, at some point it all starts and stops with him.  You have to be able to recognize that.”

Below is the full video or Archie Miller talking about the passing of Bob Knight on Wednesday.

SEE ALSO: Mike Woodson on Bob Knight: ‘He influenced my life in ways I could never repay’

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Alec Lasley is the owner of Hoosier Illustrated, a comprehensive site covering news, updates and recruiting for Indiana University athletics. Alec has covered Indiana for six years and is a credentialed media member. He has previously worked for both Rivals and 247Sports.