Saint Louis University mourns the passing of former Billiken men's basketball head coach Charlie Spoonhour. Spoonhour passed away peacefully at his home Wednesday morning with his family by his side. He was 72.
Spoonhour coached seven seasons for the Billikens from 1992 to 1999, compiling a 122-90 all-time record and taking the Billikens to the NCAA Tournament three times.
Prior to being named SLU's head coach, Spoonhour coached at Missouri State from 1983-92. He also served as head coach at UNLV from 2001-04.
"Charlie Spoonhour was a man of great character and integrity," University President Lawrence Biondi, S.J. said. "I will always remember his positive personality, his energetic spirit and his deep devotion to his players. Coach Spoonhour left an indelible mark on our basketball program, on our University and on the City of St. Louis. Spoon was - and forever will be - a Billiken in every sense of the word. We all will miss him."
"His commitment to his student-athletes, the University community and the St. Louis region helped energize the program like none other," said SLU Director of Athletics Chris May. "Charlie was an unbelievably positive force in the history of our department. We are so proud that he will forever be associated with Billiken Basketball."
"Charlie Spoonhour will be remembered by his players and fans most of all for his authenticity," Billiken Head Coach Rick Majerus said. "He was genuinely a great guy who cared about the players and the people in his life. Charlie was a fantastic coach, a wonderful teacher of the game and a competitor extraordinaire. He was a 'coaches' coach,' and will be missed by one and all."
Funeral arrangements are pending. Fans may sign a guestbook and offer their condolences at SLUBillikens.com. The department of athletics will share these with the Spoonhour family.
Spoonhour is the third winningest coach in Billiken basketball history. Hired in 1992, Spoonhour led the Billikens to the NCAA Tournament in 1994, their first appearance since 1957. That year, SLU also climbed into the national rankings for the first time in 37 years. The U.S. Basketball Writers Association named him national Coach of the Year in 1994.
During Spoonhour's tenure, "Spoonball" was one of the top attractions in college basketball, ranking in the top 10 in attendance for several seasons. In 1997-98, Saint Louis ranked sixth nationally in average attendance.Prior to arriving at Saint Louis, Spoonhour guided Missouri State to five NCAA Tournaments and two NITs in nine seasons from 1983 to 1992. He spent eight seasons grooming his talents at the junior college level at Moberly (Mo.) Junior College (1972-74) and Southeastern (Iowa) Community College (1975-81). He also served assistant-coaching stints at Missouri State (1968-72), Oklahoma (1974-75) and Nebraska (1981-83).