Lifelong IU fan attends first game as Hoosiers upset Buckeyes

Thanks to a Christmas gift from one of his daughters and her husband, lifelong IU fan Fred Farris got to experience the Hoosiers upsetting No. 11 Ohio State on Saturday at Assembly Hall. (WTHR)
Published:
Updated:

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (WTHR) — On Saturday, Indiana welcomed 11th-ranked Ohio State to Assembly Hall and sent the Buckeyes packing with a double-digit loss. Perhaps even sweeter than the victory, 77-year-old Fred Farris got to watch his beloved Hoosiers win in person for the first time.

We first introduced you to Farris on Friday after a video of special Christmas gift went viral on Twitter.


Farris' daughter, Michele, and her husband gifted him tickets to Saturday's showdown between Indiana and Ohio State. He grew up in Fort Wayne and has been a fan his entire life, but he'd never been to Assembly Hall to see his Hoosiers play.

So this weekend, Farris and Michele made the trip from Tampa — where they both now live — to Bloomington.

WTHR reporter Kevin Rader caught up with them on Friday as they wandered around the concourse of the arena and tried to sneak a peek at the court. The team was practicing at the time, so the curtains were closed.

But 24 hours later, Fred finally got to soak it all in.

"I didn't think it would be quite this big...and it's beautiful." Farris said. "It makes you proud."

And thanks to some Hoosier hospitality from IU athletics, Farris and Michele got upgraded to row 2 at mid-court.

"It's hard to grasp it when you've waited this long," Fred said. "It's just overwhelming. Everyone has been so nice to me — it's Indiana."

The smile on Farris' face said it all — his eyes welled with tears of joy as he admired every detail.

"Just Indiana, Indiana, IU, IU. And the banners. I mean, I've wanted to see those. I've got about 15 pictures of the banners," Farris said.

And there was even a special surprise for him pregame: the now-viral video was played on the jumbotron — and Farris received a standing ovation.

"Just to see it it kind of tongue-ties you," Michele said. "I'm so happy for him."

With Farris in the building, IU pulled off the upset on a day he’ll never forget — and a gift that may never be topped.

"How could anybody beat this?" Fred asked. "I don't expect anybody (to beat this). I've got other kids, and I love every one of them, but this one and her husband really fixed me this time — It's been a trip. It has been a trip."

Filed under: