‘Pretty Good’ : Former Mizzou coach reflects on legacy at Hall of Famous Missourians

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – The best basketball coach in Mizzou historical past is now the 51st individual inducted into the “Hall of Famous Missourians” at the state capitol in Jefferson City.

FOX 2 had unique protection of Wednesday’s ceremony celebrating 89-year-old Norm Stewart.

“Forever a Tiger, forever a legend… please join me in welcoming Norm Stewart into the Hall of Famous Missourians,” House Speaker Dean Plocher mentioned on the Missouri House of Representatives flooring earlier than a crowd of Stewart’s relations, former gamers, Mizzou dignitaries, and lawmakers.

The House was not in session in the course of the ceremony.

Stewart’s ‘forever a tiger’ now, as he has a spot within the hallowed corridor within the Missouri Capitol Rotunda.

The plaque beneath his bronze bust extols his accomplishments in 32 years because the University of Missouri males’s basketball coach from the late Sixties till 1999. His groups received eight convention titles and made 16 NCAAA tourney appearances. Stewart was additionally a founder of the “Coaches Versus Cancer” charity.

Yet, in his induction speech, he didn’t speak about basketball very a lot. He joked usually and spoke principally of his ‘small town’ beginnings.

“I was born in Leonard, Missouri,” he advised the gang, reflecting on his roots.

In an interview, he advised FOX 2 that it was an inductee from years previous and legendary Cardinals broadcaster Jack Buck who first helped him get snug speaking about his humble roots.

“He said he slept with his brother. Well, I did the same thing: four of us in one room with two beds,” Stewart mentioned. “I never would tell anybody that until Jack said it. I said, ‘Hey, if Jack Buck can do it, I can say something about that.’”

He advised the gang that his mother and father supplied him and his siblings with love and good meals.

“The reason I liked basketball was that I got to take a shower,” he advised the gang, drawing laughter. “Some of you probably don’t connect with that but we did not have running water until I was a sophomore in high school… I can’t imagine my mom and dad thinking from those circumstances of being here today. I know they’re watching.”

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Even after his finest seasons at Mizzou, he joked that one of the best factor folks again house would say was that he’d completed “pretty good.”

“In Missouri, pretty good—excuse the language—but ‘pretty good’ is a hell of a compliment.  Whereas, if you go to New York, LA, or something, (they say) ‘The guy’s great. He’s fantastic.  He’s wonderful. He’s out of sight,” he mentioned. “You know you’re on top in Missouri when they say, ‘Hey, you’re pretty good.’ Some of the great lessons are learned in small towns.”

Stewart mentioned his spouse, Virginia, the love of his life, was the one who needs to be honored.

A post-ceremony photograph session appeared longer than his speech.

There had been 4 generations of his household there, plus governors from previous and current, members of the legislature, former Mizzou soccer teaching nice Gary Pinkel, and of course, Stewart’s former gamers.

In a means, he was nonetheless teaching your complete room, with a lesson about how somebody like him might be honored with the likes of Dred Scott, Stan Musial, and even famed explorers Lewis and Clark, whose full-body statues stand exterior the Rotunda entrance.

“First, I want to say I was not on that trip with Lewis & Clark,” he mentioned, joking once more throughout his interview.

He mentioned the best honor was to be sculpted by his pal and famend Columbia, MO, artist, Sabra Tull Meyer, who died a bit greater than a 12 months in the past. She had additionally sculpted the Lewis & Clark trailhead plaza monument simply exterior the capitol.

“Missouri has been so good to me,” he mentioned.

He famous that she was a earlier homecoming queen, like his spouse.

He ended his remarks to the gang saying, “I say we left it a little better than when we found it…If you’re ever driving out in the country…you see a turtle on top of that fence post, you can bet your sweet bippy he didn’t get there by himself. Neither did I.”

Thunderous applause adopted. ‘Pretty good,’ certainly. 

For the latest news, weather, sports, and streaming video, head to FOX 2.

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