The 22nd annual Coaches vs. Cancer Season Tipoff Event is one of the region’s most successful sports-related fund raisers, and Tuesday brought the added bonus of bringing together old friends.
Norm Stewart, the Missouri coaching legend and cancer survivor, was a driving force in the establishment of Coaches vs. Cancer.
Bob Costas, among sports’ most familiar and accomplished broadcasters, called Missouri Tigers basketball games in the 1970s and 1980s.
Tuesday’s event at Arvent Bank Theatre at The Midland sought a master of ceremony. Stewart put in the call as he had in previous years.
“There had always been a conflict,” Costas said. “When he asked several months ago I was going to do it no matter what.”
Costas’ first season calling Missouri basketball was 1976-77. He was 24. Costas remained the team’s voice until 1982, calling the early years of the Steve Stipanovich-Jon Sundvold teams.
As Costas’ profile grew — he was announcing baseball and the NFL before broadening to the NBA and Olympics — he left the Mizzou broadcast table, but living in St. Louis allowed him to return to Columbia for games.
Stewart remembered a young, energetic broadcaster who became a lifelong friend.
“He did a terrific job for us,” Stewart said. “And he became one of the best in the business.”
Kansas’ Bill Self, Kansas State’s Bruce Weber, Missouri’s Kim Anderson and UMKC’s Kareem Richardson were part of the program. Gregg Marshall of Wichita State couldn’t attend because of an illness.
How much have times changed?
“We didn’t have a pregame or postgame show in those days,” Stewart said. “He just did the game.”
There was an old Big Eight feel to the evening. Costas called Missouri games in that era, Stewart won five Big Eight Coach of the Year awards and Self (Oklahoma State) and Anderson (Missouri) played in the conference.