Former Truman High School boys basketball coach Steve Broughton sat in a crowded gym in early March, and from the top of the bleachers, he quietly observed his Patriots in a Missouri Class 5 district game. Although recent chemotherapy treatments had robbed him of his signature gray locks, it hadn’t averted his desire for the game.
“Basketball is still what I know best,” he said with a smile.
A longtime fixture in the Kansas City basketball community, Broughton died late Tuesday after a 10-month battle with cancer. He was 55. A visitation for Broughton will be held from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday at First Baptist Church in Blue Springs, with the funeral service to immediately follow.
Truman boys coach Billy Guinnee shared the news Wednesday with a heartfelt message on a Facebook group titled, “Team Broughton #BroughtonsBrawlers,” which more than 2,500 people had joined to support Broughton’s fight.
“The effect that Steve had on people was immediate. Once you met him, you felt like he was your friend,” Guinnee’s message read, in part. “You wanted to be around him. People gravitated to him.
“He was the kind of person that made everyone feel like they were special. I’ve never seen a teacher and coach that has had such a profound impact on so many lives.”
Broughton coached the Truman boys basketball program from 1989-2003, a tenure highlighted by the Patriots’ run to the 1997 state championship game. He also coached the Truman softball team for 19 seasons and was an assistant on the William Jewell women’s basketball staff.
He was diagnosed with pancreatic and liver cancer last July, after he visited a doctor with a lingering stomachache. He remained upbeat throughout much of his fight and continued to make public appearances at basketball games, some of them in his honor. In April, he was inducted into the Greater Kansas City Basketball Coaches Association Hall of Fame.
“The courage that Steve showed in his fight against this horrible disease was nothing less than amazing,” wrote Guinnee, who served as an assistant for Broughton for 12 seasons.
A month after his cancer diagnosis, Broughton married former Truman softball coach Amy Temples. He has two kids — Jared and Whitney — who are in their 20s.
Facebook messages started to trickle in shortly before 10 p.m. Tuesday evening, with more than 100 comments in the first two hours after Guinnee shared the news.
“A life well-lived,” Don Grundy wrote.
“He was such a wonderful man and a truly inspirational coach. I had four amazing years playing for him,” Nicole Logan added.
“A finer man I’ve never known,” Kim Vickers posted.