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Alum decorates entire home with growing collection of IU memorabilia

Apr 18, 2023

Bill and Judy Harkness decorated their entire home with IU memorabilia. Photo by James Brosher, Indiana University Bill and Judy Harkness decorated their entire home with IU memorabilia. Photo by James Brosher, Indiana University

 

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.”

A rotary phone with photo on the IU 1976 championship basketball team on the side A telephone given to members of IU's 1976 basketball team after winning the national championship. Photo by James Brosher, Indiana University Bill’s love of IU has only grown over the years, along with his collection of memorabilia. The walls of the Harkness home are covered in autographed photos of teams and coaches, and rare IU-themed artwork. Small replicas of the banners that hang in Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall are displayed at the entrance to a room that’s dedicated completely to some of the most impressive items in the couple’s collection.

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.

A toy 1957 Chevy with an IU logo sits in front of IU nutcrackers A toy 1957 Chevy adorned with IU logos is displayed in front of an IU nutcracker collection. Photo by James Brosher, Indiana University

“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.

An IU basketball signed by Bob Knight A basketball signed by former IU basketball coach Bob Knight. Photo by James Brosher, Indiana University “One year the power went out at my aunt’s house during the game, so she called my mom, who put the phone up to the television set so she could listen to the game,” Bill said. “We made sure she got a battery-powered radio after that.”

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.”

IU-themed home

Author

IU Newsroom

Barbara Brosher

Executive Director of Storytelling and Research Communications

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