The 1988-89 SFU men’s basketball team coached by Stan Stewardson (front row, third from right.) (Contributed photo)

The 1988-89 SFU men’s basketball team coached by Stan Stewardson (front row, third from right.) (Contributed photo)

Stan Stewardson, former North Delta Huskies and SFU basketball coach, passes away at 78

Stewardson is in the Basketball BC, Delta Sports, Burnaby Sports and SFU Athletics halls of fame

Former North Delta Huskies basketball coach and Delta Sports Hall of Fame inductee Stan Stewardson passed away on Oct. 26, one day before his 79th birthday.

Stewardson came from a well-known New Westminster family, heavily involved in lacrosse, and was a gifted lacrosse and baseball player as a youth. He went on to play on UBC’s varsity soccer and baseball teams, graduating with a physical education degree in 1962.

Stewardson began his coaching career in Rossland in 1963 before coming to North Delta Secondary. He turned around two losing high school teams, taking the Huskies to a B.C. provincial championship in 1971, and posting a 241-68 record. The team he built went on to win the BC High School AAA Basketball Championships in 1975 under rookie coach Bill Edwards. The 74-75 Huskies were inducted into the Delta Sports Hall of Fame in 2010.

For nine seasons, from 1975 to 1979 and again from 1984 to 1989, Stewardson served as head coach of the SFU men’s basketball program. On both occasions, Stewardson inherited teams coming off single-digit win seasons and took them to 20-win seasons. His 1986-87 team won 24 games, which remains the most in SFU history.

“We are very saddened to hear the news about Stan’s passing,” said Theresa Hanson, senior director of athletics and recreation. “In the past year we have said goodbye to three extraordinary coaches –John Buchanan, Barb Robertson and Stan Stewardson. Each of them played a significant role in their sport, but their impact was so much bigger.”

“The real worth of a coach isn’t found on a score sheet or in the win/loss column, rather it is measured by the impact they made on the game and most importantly, in their athletes’ lives,” continued Hanson. “The positive difference Stan made in his athletes lives was simply immeasurable. Today is a sad day, and the end of an era in many ways. But we – all of us at SFU – are the lucky ones for the lessons and legacy he leaves behind.”

Stewardson coached 11 student-athletes would go on to play for the Canadian national team, and 16 who would become professional basketball players. The two most notable student-athletes he coached at SFU were NBA and Canadian national team coach Jay Triano, and Canadian hero Terry Fox.

In 2004, Stewardson received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Metro Vancouver Basketball Foundation, and in 2005, he was inducted into the Basketball BC Hall of Fame. That same year he was inducted into the inaugural class of the Delta Sports Hall of Fame, and was subsequently inducted into the Burnaby Sports Hall of Fame in 2007 and the SFU Athletics Hall of Fame in 2014.

A gifted motivator, communicator and leader of young men, Stewardson also coached the New Westminster Junior ‘A’ Salmonbellies to the Minto Cup Canadian Championship. Whatever the sport, Stewardson’s teams were always relentless and played with tremendous intensity. It was how he liked to play.

A celebration of life will be held in the coming weeks.



editor@northdeltareporter.com

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Stan Stewardson coaching SFU men’s basketball team, circa 1988. (Contributed photo)

Stan Stewardson coaching SFU men’s basketball team, circa 1988. (Contributed photo)