Famous Coach Honored In Springfield

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SPRINGFIELD - On Saturday a former Missouri Tiger coaching legend and his legacy were put in stone, or in this case bronze.

Former Missouri Tiger Basketball Coach Norm Stewart was honored with a life size bronze statue, The statue sits outside the Missouri Sports Hall of fame. To get a feel for the magnitude of this honor all a visitor needs to do is look around.

There are statues and bust of Missouri legends everywhere. Along one path there are legends like Dick Vermeil, Don Farout, and Stan "The Man" Musial.

Stewart had a very long and succesful coaching career in the NCAA. He coached for 38 seasons and won 728 games. The 728 games puts Stewart at 30th for wins in college basketball history.

Stewart had a lot of success with the Tigers. His teams went to 16 NCAA tournaments, and two of the teams even reached the elite eight.

Stewart also won eight Big Eight regular season championships while capturing 6 Big eight post-season titles.

Stewart's family, friends, former players, and peers all joined together for the event. One family member even flew in the night before from Brazil.

Columbia Basketball Coach Bob Burchard said, "Stewart has set the standard in our state and really nationally. There are several things that come to my mind when you think about Norm. And that is longevity in the profession. It's extremely hard particularly at the major college level to have that level of impact for that level of time."

Burchard talked about Coach Stewart's great characteristics and he said, "I think for all of us in coaching I think there are things that you kind of pattern. Number one is consistency, dedication to the sport and kids, and love for the University of Missouri and the state of Missouri."

Stewart spent 32 of his 38 years coaching in Missouri, and he felt honored Missouri was recognizing him for his hard work and accomplishments. He said, " When they inducted Whitey into the Baseball Hall of Fame I remember what he said. He said this is like going to heaven before you die. And this is tremendous. It's the state of Missouri. This is the best sports hall of fame in the nation."

At the end of the ceremony Stewart talked about how the event was great, but it did not give him the itch to return to court after his 14 year absence. He did say when people ask him for advice he gladly helps. One of the coaches he has helped is current Mizzou Basketball Coach Frank Haith.