You know Bill and Judy Harkness are Indiana University fans from the moment you spot their house. A crimson limestone trident sits in their front garden bed, and the symbol is also on display on their mailbox, their garage and the benches that sit by their home’s entrance.
When Judy opens the front door, which is also crimson, “Indiana, Our Indiana” is playing. Just about everything you see when you step inside displays the couple’s overwhelming Hoosier pride. When they moved to the Bloomington area 12 years ago, the Harknesses decided to decorate their entire home in an IU theme — down to the crimson coffeemaker and candy-stripe shower curtain.
“I’ve been an IU fan from day one,” said Bill, who earned his master’s degree from IU in 1971. “I had a neighbor with a television in the ’50s and he would let me come down on Monday nights at 6 to watch the games.”
Every surface of the room is covered with cream and crimson, including too many balls and posters autographed by Bob Knight to count. Bill has been gifted some of the prized items in his collection, including an IU-themed phone the 1976 undefeated NCAA championship team received after their victory.
He’s also purchased many unique parts of IU sports history. Bill and Judy had basketball court flooring — which was used in the original Fieldhouse from 1928 to 1960 and sold by IU Surplus — repurposed into a coffee and end table for their living room.
But many of the items on display throughout the home are personal mementos of the time Bill and Judy spent cheering for their favorite teams. A bookshelf contains decades of game programs, meticulously organized by season. A frame on one wall contains the shirt Bill wore when he worked at Bob Knight’s School of Basketball summer camp in the 1970s.
“Guess what he did with his checks from working School of Basketball?” Judy said. “He went to the IU Bookstore.”
While Judy said she married into IU fandom, Bill was born into it; the university and its teams have always been a central part of his life. He remembers his mom and aunt planning their entire days around IU basketball.
Bill and Judy have become just as dedicated to the Hoosiers. They’ve attended every sport at IU at least once, and they set out to attend 100 games every academic year. By mid-April of this year, they had already been to 120. Bill, of course, saves his ticket from every game.
While he’s been collecting IU memorabilia since the ’70s, Bill still has a few items on his wish list. He’s been thrilled to see the increased fan interest in women’s sports at IU and would love to add more items from those teams to his collection.
“He’ll get something framed and I’ll wonder where we’re going to put it,” Judy said. “But IU is our life.”
A 1986 Gamma Phi Beta sorority calendar featuring then-IU basketball star Steve Alford. The NCAA ruled Alford had violated NCAA rules by posing for the charity calendar. IU voluntary suspended him for one game that season for the infraction.