On the third floor of the Missouri Capitol Rotunda, sits a statue of the newest member of the Hall of Famous Missourians. Legendary Mizzou basketball coach Norm Stewart, who led the Tigers from 1967 to 1999, joins the esteemed class.

The Missouri House of Representatives seats were full as his bust was unveiled Wednesday. Stewart gave a heartfelt, humble, and even humorous speech at times.

“If you’re ever driving out in the country and see on a fence post, a turtle on top of that fence post, you can bet your sweet bippy he didn’t get there by himself,” he told the crowd. “I don’t know how you define success. One thing I know is we left it a little better than we found it.”

Stewart amassed a record of 734 wins, securing eight Big Eight regular season titles, six conference tournament championships, and making 16 NCAA Tournament appearances. He earned accolades such as Coach of the Year by the UPI in 1982 and the Associated Press in 1994. In 2007, he was enshrined in the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame.

Stewart, affectionately nicknamed “Stormin’ Norman,” joins Missouri sports legends Buck O’Neill and Stan Musial in the hall.

‘“Stormin’ Norman,’ I don’t know where that came from. And of course, I can always try to make some humor out everything. But I always told them when they said ‘Stormin’ Norman,’ I said, ‘Hey, I’m just this casual quiet guy.’ But that didn’t sell. They don’t call me ‘Casual Norm.’ You call me ‘Stormin Norm,’” he told Missourinet.

Has his displeasure softened for Kansas?

“I really have the utmost respect for Kansas,” Stewart told Missourinet. “I was recruited by Kansas. But when you want to see the top competition, you go watch KU and MU play. I don’t care whether it was tiddlywinks, basketball, football, you saw guys do tremendous things.”

What inspired him to be a college basketball coach?

“Well, quite honestly I needed a job. I tried to play pro basketball, and I could have. I had other opportunities,” he told Missourinet. “I tried to play pro baseball and I just wasn’t good enough. I just came back (to Missouri) and then the opportunity started to appear.”

Missouri House Speaker Dean Plocher, R-Des Peres, picked Stewart to go in the hall. He said the legendary figure’s name is “etched into the heart of Missouri basketball.”

“It was on the sidelines that he found his true calling,” said Plocher. “For 32 extraordinary seasons, Norm Stewart was the heart and the soul of Mizzou basketball. Norm Stewart – forever a Tiger; forever a legend.”

Stewart is a native of Shelby County, in northeast Missouri.

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