Bloomington: Part IV – Sports
In the final part of my multi-part series about the college town of Bloomington, Indiana, I will be raving about the athletics that are on display in the beautiful college town. Indiana University is a Big Ten school, and thus all sports are in Division I of the NCAA. If you are not familiar with Indiana Athletics, I am more than happy to catch you up to speed by providing yet another reason to visit the city located in Southern Indiana.
Indiana basketball has the richest tradition of any sport on campus, with 5 national championship banners hanging in the sanctuary of Assembly Hall. The sport also boasts the largest fan base of any varsity sport, and one of the biggest followings for a college basketball program in the country. The most famous name that separates itself from the rest is Bobby Knight, the former head coach of the Hoosiers. Bloomington is his old stomping grounds, and where he led his teams to 3 national titles. The other two came courtesy of Branch McCracken, the name given to the hardwood inside of Assembly Hall. Countless other popular names have poured out of Bloomington and Indiana basketball.
Football is more known for the Saturday tailgates. The sport has had decent seasons in years past, but they have not seen postseason play since 2007. New head coach Kevin Wilson was hired over a year ago and hopes to change that aspect of the team. As for the tailgates, many fans decide to stay in their spot even throughout the game and typically arriving in the early hours of the morning to begin the eating and drinking festivities.
Bloomington natives and athletes’ families have also had the pleasure of supporting the soccer and swimming programs. The men’s soccer team has brought seven national championships back to Armstrong Stadium, and have been deemed by many to have had a dynasty in the 1990s and early 2000s. The women’s program has also seen bits and pieces of success, but not nearly as much as the men have. Both men’s and women’s swimming has seen tremendous success for decades and continues to represent the university very well. There are too many Big Ten and National Championship banners hanging in the natatorium for me to count on two hands.
As for recent years, the men’s basketball program has climbed out of a frenzy to step back into the national spotlight with a Sweet Sixteen season. The men’s track and field team saw National Championship action this past season, and the men’s soccer team also competed in the national soccer tournament but were ousted by #1 North Carolina.
Hopefully a four-part series about Bloomington, Indiana has lifted your desires to visit very soon!