(KMOX, St. Louis) Another sports icon left us earlier this week in Charlie Spoonhour. Spoonhour had battled idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis for nearly two years. He passed at his home in North Carolina.
Spoon was an incredible coach who put the Missouri State Bears basketball program on the map. He coached the Bears from 1983 to 1992 compiling a 197-81 record and 5 NCAA tournament appearances. MSU’s program was an unknown until Charlie arrived in Springfield. Then Coach Spoon took over the St. Louis University Billiken basketball program. Never in my lifetime had I seen the Bills program thrive like it did under Coach Spoon. During Charlie’s 7 year tenure at SLU, he led them to 3 NCAA tourney appearances and a record of 122-90. Watching Spoons teams at the Kiel Center when 17,000 plus fans would regularly attend a Bills game was as good as it gets.
But as a great of a coach Charlie was, he was a better person. I was honored to work with Charlie and become one of his many, many friends. Every place we traveled to do a Missouri Valley telecast Spoon was always swarmed by fans wanting to talk to him and he always obliged.
I remember going to my first Final Four in San Antonio in 2004. One evening I ran into his son Jay, and Jay pointed to his dad and he told me to go say hi to him. And as Jay pointed in his dad’s direction I could see Spoon sitting there with a Bud Light in hand holding court and telling stories to a large contingent of current and former basketball coaches. He was such a likeable person.
I was really looking forward to seeing him soon. Coach was expected to make it to St. Louis in the first of March to get inducted into the Missouri Valley Conference Hall of Fame. Many people were excited to get a chance to see Spoon for the first time in 2 years. But there’s no doubt in my mind that Arch Madness will have a much different feel to it this year now that Spoon won’t be there for his induction.
As the old saying goes, “they don’t make ‘em like they used to.” And no truer words could ever be spoken when we talk about Coach Spoon. My thoughts and prayers to Spoons family and may he rest in peace.
Scott Warmann is a host on the Sports Hub