NORMAN — Coach Bob Stevens, born Nov. 11, 1923, passed away Sept. 30, 2012, at the age of 88. Bob Stevens was the kind of person who loved a challenge. He had life-long dreams fulfilled because of his persevering spirit.
He was preceded in death by both parents and a sister, Mary Stevens.
He is survived by his daughter, Nancy Barcellus, and granddaughter, Christine Barcellus of Norman; son, Robert Stevens of Costa Mesa, Calif.; and nieces and nephews of Syracuse, Ind.
Bob was born on a short-horned cattle farm to musicians Alys and State Sen. Floyd Stevens in Sydney, Ind. He was a farm boy forming a work ethic that would continue throughout his life. While going to high school, each day before dawn, he worked picking up large cans of milk from surrounding farms and delivering them to the dairy, then would go home to do his chores before school. Of course, he played Hoosier basketball. Their 80-foot cattle barn had basketball goals at either end, where kids from all around came to play.
Bob set and held a record at Sydney High for his fast play, scoring more points in less time than any other player.
He dreamed of playing on the college level and was recruited by Michigan State University. His playing days were interrupted because of WWII. Always a competitor, he enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps. He ended up overseas with one of the first Marine units to go into Nagasaki after the U.S. dropped the atom bomb.
After the war, he returned to Michigan State, where he met Jo Bennigan, an Indiana girl, in a health science P.E. class. After graduation, they were married and returned to Indiana in order to fulfill his dream of being a Hoosier basketball coach. They both worked at the same unified school in Milford, Ind., he as the all sports coach and she a first-grade teacher.