The Norman Transcript

Obituaries

October 14, 2012

Bob Stevens

(Continued)

NORMAN —

In 1952, since he remained in the Marines Reserve, he was called up and deployed to the front lines of the Korean Police Action (war).

Several years later, the couple returned to their alma mater, MSU, where he completed his master’s degree. They were blessed with amazing children, Robert and Nancy. More good fortune unfolded. Bob became a graduate assistant freshmen coach under famed coach Pete Newell and thereafter assistant coach to Forddy Anderson. In 1957, the Michigan State team went to the NCAA Final Four in Kansas City. The lost to North Carolina in a triple overtime game, which spoiled their chance of playing Wilt the Stilt Chamberlain of Kansas University in the finals.

This led to the fulfillment of another dream, the head coaching position with the Gamecocks of South Carolina University. Gordie Stauffer, another Hoosier and dear friend, was his assistant. While coaching there, he was named the Atlantic Coast Conference Coach of the Year.

In 1962, Oklahoma’s Bud Wilkinson hired Stevens to coach the Sooner basketball team. He not only found a job but found a haven where he wanted to spend the rest of his life. He loved Oklahoma and its “great people.” Gordie Stauffer, Bud Cronlin, one of his S.C. players, and John Macleod assisted coaching OU’s team. There were changes in the style of basketball played in the old field house at OU. As you entered the gym, you immediately saw an oversized banner hanging from the scorer’s table describing his fast break offense. It read, “Go, Go, Go!!!”

At a coaches’ meeting, Henry Iba put his arm on Bob’s shoulder and said, “Son, you’re not supposed to get up and down the court and have fun like you think you’re going to do.”

Steven’s players will attest to grueling arm strength fitness drills, Stevens included, and endless practices rebounding and throwing the ball to the wingman before their feet touched the deck, not allowing the defense to get set. The Sooners did win Bedlam in what was known as “Henry’s House.”

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