Hartnett: Bush captured historic UI moment | Sports


Steve Bush sat in his photographer’s seat on the floor near the end of the Indiana University bench in Assembly Hall. As he assessed the situation, he sensed that something interesting was about to happen.

Traditional rivals Indiana and Purdue were fighting in a Big Ten competition in late February 1985 and IU coach Bob Knight had just been given a technical foul after protesting an appeal against the Hoosiers in the middle of the ground. From his excellent vantage point, Bush observed as the volatile Indiana coach grew increasingly angry and immediately focused his attention and camera on Knight. Seconds later, Knight created a defining moment for his career and legacy: he sailed in a chair from the team bench across the lane to the offensive end of Boilermaker. Bush had a once in a lifetime blow: Bob Knight throwing in the chair.

There are many photos of the famous (or perhaps infamous) incident, however, the photo of Bush shows Knight in the middle of the throw and is generally accepted as the classic photo of the incident. It captures Knight in all his frustration and serves as an accurate illustrated synopsis of the episode.

“I didn’t know exactly what I had back then because it was before the digital age,” Bush said. “I had no way of checking or looking at my photo like everyone else does today. My camera was an old Nikon FE2. I had to wait for it to be developed to see the quality of the shot I got.

Bush worked as a freelance photographer for Shelbyville News and Sports editor-in-chief Jim Saturday. “I had a mission at Market Square Arena that night, so I didn’t have time to develop it. I handed the film to Jim and John Warner, the newspaper’s chief photographer, they developed it. When I got home, Jim called me and said, “You really did. “

Bush said his good fortune was partly due to his advantageous position upstairs in the Assembly Hall. “Then it was first come, first served for the photographer positions at Assembly Hall,” Bush said. “I always arrived early to have the opportunity to have an area of ​​choice. Being at the very end of the IU bench, I was only 15-20 feet from Knight that day. I think one of the reasons I got such a great photo is because I was so close. I was just there.

Bush is from Morristown and graduated in 1963 from Morristown High School. He worked at Allison Corporation in Indianapolis for 34 years and raised his family in Shelbyville. He started taking photos when his daughter, Michele, was running for Shelbyville High School.

“It was just a personal thing to start with,” said Bush. “Jim (Saturday) was covering one of Michele’s meetups and asked if I would be interested in doing freelance work. I said I was just learning and he said I could learn on the job.

Bush said his sports photography job has taken him to various special locations over the years, such as IU and Purdue, Riverfront Stadium to cover the Reds, many Colts games and countless high schools. Still, he says Knight’s photo has taken on a “life of its own.”

The image was widely disseminated in newspaper circles and press services. However, since Bush enjoyed independent status, the photo was also considered his private property. He could use it however he wanted. It soon became widely known that Bush had taken the final photo of the Knight Chair Throw.

“Shortly after that game, I started getting requests for photos from all over the place,” said Bush. “Word of mouth took off and I was inundated with calls.” He said the owner of a restaurant called That Sandwich Place in Brown County requested several of his photos. “They have an abundance of IU sports photos on the wall. Coach Knight used to go there often, too, ”said Bush.

Bush has received inquiries from individuals, souvenir shops and a number of other entities. He has also donated copies of the image to charities on several occasions. “I always contribute two or three to the Boys and Girls Club auction each year,” said Bush. “My son and grandchildren were very active there, so I’m very happy to be able to make this contribution every year. “

One of the photo requests came from the subject himself. Knight’s secretary, Mary, reached out to Bush telling him that Knight wanted five photos. The legendary coach even signed one for Bush. “It was really great,” said Bush. “I was glad he was able to take it without hesitation and enjoy it. He also sent me a very nice letter.

Bush was given another IU basketball assignment the week after the incident and was surprised to find that the Indiana team’s benches were now chained together. A school official confirmed that this was to prevent any further chair throwing.

Although the photo of Knight has given Bush some notoriety, he says he enjoyed using his skills the most while taking pictures of his children and grandchildren’s activities. It’s a business that has kept him very busy over the years and that’s why he started taking photos.

Much of this photograph has been linked to his family’s athletic involvement, as Bush has a fairly athletic family. Her daughter, Michele, and granddaughter, Chrissi, still hold SHS records. Michele continued to run at Purdue while Chrissi was a state high jump qualifier. Grandsons, Ben and DJ, were starters on the Golden Bear basketball team, with Ben named to the 2011 All-Shelby County team.

“My greatest satisfaction was taking pictures of them, their teammates and friends,” said Bush. “Knight’s photo is great but ranks behind being able to photograph my family and have those special memories.”

Bush was in the right place at the right time at Indiana University Assembly Hall on February 23, 1985. What started as a personal endeavor to document family events a few years earlier has turned into a second career and led him to take a classic photo. that will live forever in Hoosier folklore and tradition.

John Hartnett, former general manager of the Boys Club of Shelbyville, is a sports columnist for The Shelbyville News. Contact Hartnett at [email protected]


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