When Boys Varsity Basketball Coach Kelvin Lee first learned of the opportunity to join Charlie Spoonhour's staff at St. Louis University in 1992, he was told he'd be crazy not to take it.
"You’re going to learn basketball because he’s a genius, but he knows how to treat people," Lee said Wednesday he was told at the time. Spoonhour had been in failing health following a lung transplant and died in North Carolina Wednesday morning.
Lee said he learned through members of the Spoonhour coaching tree Tuesday night that the former SLU, Missouri State and UNLV coach was still fighting, but that it wasn't a good sign when Spoonhour's son, Jay, a junior college coach, was called away from his team Tuesday night.
Lee appreciated Spoonhour's ability to treat his star player and the man on the end of the bench the right way, and to motivate his teams without cursing. "He had the unique ability to get the most out of players without profanity, and I think a lot of coaches miss the boat on that –they think you have to use profanity, but you don’t have to, to motivate kids," he said.
Spoonhour succeeded former coach Rich Grawer at St. Louis University in 1992.