Home Basketball Mizzou’s Norm Stewart Inducted Into Hall Of Famous Missourians

Mizzou’s Norm Stewart Inducted Into Hall Of Famous Missourians

Legendary College Basketball Coach Joins Elite Group

by Brian Ledford

(JEFFERSON CITY) One of the most-beloved coaches in Missouri sports history has claimed another monumental achievement.

Photo Credit: Brian Ledford

Legendary Mizzou Tigers men’s basketball coach Norm Stewart was inducted into the Hall of Famous Missourians by the House of Representatives Wednesday afternoon at the Missouri State Capital.

“His journey from the fields of Shelby County to the courts of Mizzou represents not just a chronicle of athletic prowess, but also a testament to unwavering dedication, resilience, and community spirit,” said House Speaker Dean Plocher during the ceremony’s introduction.

“He was the heart and soul of Mizzou.”

“Stormin’ Norman,” who coached the program for over three decades, tops the ledger in both overall wins and post-season appearances.

Surrounded by family, friends, politicians and former players in the House Chamber, Stewart was overwhelmed by the honor bestowed.

“I wanna really enjoy this, but I’m telling you that it’s tough when I look out and see all these people that made this great thing that is happening today,“ he said humbly. “I’m a sentimental guy. It’s been a wonderful journey and it’s such a thrill.”

With the 89-year-old’s inclusion, the Hall has now reached 51 honorees that are recognized for their achievements and contributions to the state.

“I really am so proud to be a Missourian and to join this class of people,” Stewart said. ”It makes me feel so good to join such an illustrious group.”

Photo Credit: Brian Ledford

The coach is the first from the sport of basketball to be added to the prominent list, and with good reason when looking back at his overall tenure with the Tigers.

When he took the helm of Mizzou’s basketball program in 1967, he inherited a team that had only collected two winning seasons during the prior twelve.

Success would build over time.

In his 32-year run with the Tigers, Stewart recorded a 633-333 record, easily making him the winningest coach in school history. Under his leadership, Mizzou won eight Big Eight regular-season championships, six Big Eight tournament titles and made 16 NCAA Division 1 tournament appearances, where teams made it to the Elite Eight twice (1976, 1992).

“I don’t know how you define success, but I know we left it better than (when) we found it,” he said of the program’s overall turnaround.

The 1994 Tigers team that posted a 14-0 conference record and finished the season 28-4 netted him “Men’s Coach of the Year” honors by the Associated Press.

Even with recognition nationally, Stewart remained grounded locally.

“In Missouri, ‘pretty good’ is a hell of a compliment,” he said. “Whereas, if you go to New York or LA and they say, ‘the guy’s great, he’s fantastic, he’s wonderful, he’s out-of-sight,’ you know you’re on top in Missouri when they say, “Hey, you’re pretty good.”

Photo Credit: Brian Ledford

During his 15-minute acceptance speech, he talked very little directly about the Tigers and focused more on his small-town upbringing in Shelbyville and his overall philosophy on life in general.

However, he did make a point to include his former players and personnel as members of his inner-circle.

“I think a lot of times my immediate family thought that I was paying more attention to the ball clubs than I was to them,” Stewart said. “Every ball player that we’ve had, we’ve had at my house. They’re part of our family.”

Stewart retired after the 1999 season but continued to be involved with the program as an ambassador and color commentator on Tigers basketball broadcasts.

Overall in his 38-year coaching career as a coach, which includes a six-year stint (1961-67) at State College of Iowa – now known as University of Northern Iowa – Stewart was 729-375 and is currently tied with Fresno State’s Jerry Tarkanian for 29th all-time for wins in NCAA Division 1.

In 1989, he was diagnosed with colon cancer, which led him to founding Coaches vs. Cancer in 1993. The national non-for-profit – a collaboration between the America Cancer Society and the National Association of Basketball Coaches – helps the lives of cancer patients and their families with fundraising events, both on and off-the-court.

Locally, the annual “Coaches vs. Cancer” Holiday Tournament is slotted at Maryville University December 27-30.

Photo Credit: Brian Ledford

After the 20-minute induction concluded, Stewart took pictures alongside his bronze bust with others. It included former Mizzou football coach Gary Pinkel and about two dozen former Tigers basketball players. The photo ops almost tripled the length of the formal ceremony itself.

Even with cane in hand, the octogenarian didn’t leave until every hand was shaken and the final cell phone image was snapped. The moment meant a lot to him.

And true to form, golden nuggets of wisdom were spoken.

“If you ever go out driving and you see a fence post, and you see a turtle on top of that fence post, you can bet your sweet bippy that he didn’t get there by himself,” Stewart said. “Neither did I.”

Pretty good, indeed!

To see the official video of Stewart’s induction, GO TO THIS LINK

Others also recognized in the Hall of Famous Missourians with sports involvement include Baseball Hall of Famers Stan Musial and Buck O’ Neil, St. Louis Cardinals broadcaster Jack Buck, former Kansas City Royals owners Lamar Hunt and Ewing Kauffman and Bass Pro Shops founder Johnny Morris.

For more information on the Hall of Famous Missourians, which includes personal bios and a map of where busts are located, GO TO THE OFFICIAL WEBSITE.

By trade, he is a six-time, regional Emmy Award-winning news videographer/editor for KTVI/KPLR-TV. By hobby, he is a writer for Arch City Media, dating back to February 2014. Emphasis is on featuring and promoting local women's sports, but will cover anything that is not reported by traditional media outlets. Also a contributor to local concert reviews.

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