I started the Coach4aday blog in 2014 and have done daily posts on one topic for each year. In 2014 my daily posts were on the “Beer of the Day”, 2015 it was “A Friend of a Friend”, 2016 I wrote about “North Carolina”, and in 2017 it was “Colleges and Universities”.
The one consistent piece of feedback I have received with this blog is the 2015 series on “A Friend of a Friend”. Readers and blog followers said please bring it back. The stats also back that up with the number of views each of those posts received.
So in 2018 two things will happen with the Coach4aday blog; One I plan to collaborate with a friend named John Rancke and revisit some of those 2015 “A Friend of a Friend” posts and do some new ones with a slightly different twist.
In addition John and I will write about things we both are interested which will include basketball, food, people, music, our granddaughters, and great stories.
If you want to follow the blog via email go to the bottom right of the post and click the follow button.
My twitter handle is @coach4aday2 if you want to follow the blog that way.
John’s twitter handle is @JohnRancke if you want to reach out to him.
Blog post originally ran on January 15, 2015 and has been updated
A Friend-Bobby Stevens-College Basketball Legend and Pat Summitt
When I began as head basketball coach at Winthrop University in 1992 one of the unintended benefits was the fact that a great man was in place to be one of my assistant coaches. He also became a very good friend and godfather to my youngest son Mack.
That Friend/Assistant Coach was Bobby Stevens who in 2014 was voted to the ACC Men’s Basketball Legends Class. I as very proud and happy that Bobby received that recognition.
Bobby was a sharpshooting, ball-hawking guard who helped provide the leadership for head coach Don Devoe’s 1973 Virginia Tech basketball team which ended up winning the school’s first national championship in basketball, claiming the 1973 National Invitation Tournament title in New York’s Madison Square Garden. It should be noted that in 1973 the Hokies played all 4 games in MSG in the span of a week.
Bobby being hoisted on the shoulders of his teammates after winning NIT in 1973.
Playing alongside two of the top players in Tech history in Allen Bristow and Craig Lieder, Stevens, at 5-10, would not be hard to overlook. But the scrappy native of Chester, Pa., happened to make all of the right plays in that star-crossed year for the Hokies. A transfer from Ferrum College, Stevens was playing his first season in Division I Basketball and he proved to be the final piece the Hokies needed.
He averaged just 9.7 points a game that year, and though he was a good passer and ball handler, assists in those days were not kept. Tech finished the 1973 regular season with an 18-5 and earned a berth in the NIT at a time when the NCAA Tournament took only 24 teams. Still, that year Virginia Tech had won games at Ohio State, West Virginia and Wake Forest and made their way through the NIT defeating New Mexico, Fairfield and Alabama by a total of just four points in a series of nail biters in which Stevens played a major role.
Now facing Notre Dame in the NIT Championship it appeared as if time had run out as with six minutes remaining, Tech trailed by 12 points. Stevens, benched earlier, came back late to help force the game into overtime. With the clock running down and Tech trailing by a point, Stevens, who had seven points in the overtime session, threw up a shot which missed, but he was able to get the long rebound and quickly put up a shot at the buzzer that gave the Hokies a one-point overtime upset win over the Irish and the NIT Championship.
Stevens would go on to play one more year for Tech and then had a tryout with the Virginia Squires in the A.B.A. before beginning a long coaching career which included time at Virginia Tech, Tennessee, and Florida. While at Tennessee he developed a friendship with Women’s Basketball Coach and Hall of Famer-Pat Summitt.
He recently retired as head basketball coach at Rock Hill High in Rock Hill, S.C. He stays involved in college basketball by serving as an analyst on the Big South Network for Winthrop Basketball games.
Bobby is married to his wife Missy and has a beautiful daughter named Traci. He won a State Championship in Boys Basketball at Rock Hill High School in 2006 having his team post an impressive 22-4 record.
Photos of Bobby Stevens
Bobby Stevens -Assistant Coach at Univ. of Tennessee-1982 SEC Championship Team-(back row far left)
Bobby Stevens hitting winning shot against Notre Dame in 1973 NIT Championship at Madison Square Garden
Bobby Stevens in white shirt with former 1973 Va. Tech Assistant Coaches -Jim Hallihan (hat) and Sonny Smith on left.
Bobby Stevens and the Pat Summitt friendship
Bobby has always been a people person and that was evident to our basketball team at Winthrop in the mid 90’s when we traveled to Knoxville TN to take on the Vols. The night before the game we practiced in Thompson-Boling Arena and the whole team looked in awe as Pat Summitt called out Bobby’s name in the middle of practice walked onto the court and gave Bobby a big hug.
She apologized to the team and me but said she loved Bobby Stevens. Bobby sheepishly asked her if he could see her after practice and she said yes.
After practice Coach Summitt led the Winthrop Eagles on a tour of Thompson-Boling and talked about her then 6 year old son Tyler to her friend Bobby Stevens.
As most people know Pat Summitt lost a battle with dementia and Alzheimer’s on June 28, 2016. Back on a November night in the mid 1990’s her mind was razor sharp and her friendship and loyalty to my friend and her friend Bobby Stevens will not be forgotten.