Former hoops coach directed Sooners from 1962-67, introduced up-tempo style.
Oct. 3, 2012
NORMAN, Okla. -- Bob Stevens, 88, who brought an up-tempo style of play and a young John MacLeod to the University of Oklahoma men's basketball program, died early Sunday morning following a boating mishap on Lake Texoma. A native of Indiana, Stevens coached at OU from 1962-67 and built an OU career record of 46-79. He resigned as the Sooners' head coach after the 1966-67 season, staying with OU in physical education and intramural departments.
Nicknamed "Go-Go" because of the up-tempo, run-and-gun style of play that he preferred, Stevens came to OU after coaching three years at South Carolina. He began his coaching career at Milford High School in Indiana and was the freshman basketball coach at Michigan State for three years before becoming a varsity assistant in 1957.
He left Michigan State, his alma mater, to become the head coach at South Carolina for the 1959-60 season. He was named Atlantic Coast Conference coach of the year after the 1961-62 season, then hired by OU director of athletics Bud Wilkinson to lead the Sooner program.
One of the coaches on his Sooner staff was MacLeod, Stevens' freshman coach, who then took over the head coaching reins after Stevens' resignation.
After leaving OU, Stevens worked at Rice and SMU before returning to Oklahoma in 1980. For 20 years, he ran the Waterford Athletic Club. Stevens then worked as an aquatics inspector for the Oklahoma County health department, observed officials for the Sooner Athletic Conference and ran a scouting service. He also served as an assistant coach on the Continental Basketball Association's 1997 champion, the Oklahoma City Cavalry.
Stevens went to college at Michigan and Michigan State, graduating from MSU in 1949. He served in the United States Marine Corps in World War II and the Korean War, reaching the rank of colonel.
He is survived by his daughter, Nancy Barcellus, of Norman, and a son, Robert L. Stevens, Jr., of Newport Beach, Calif.
At his request, there will be no funeral. A celebration of his life will be held this weekend at Lake Texoma at the Tanglewood Resort at Pottsboro.