Legendary Missouri State and Saint Louis University basketball coach Charlie Spoonhour passed away on Wednesday morning at the age of 72 in Chapel Hill, North Carolina after a long battle with lung complications.
Coach Spoonhour had been in and out of the hospital for the past couple of years after receiving a lung transplant in 2010. He had been diagnosed with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis.
According to close family friend Bob Ramsey, Jay Spoonhour said his father died peacefully this morning surrounded by his family and was able to spend his final moments with them at the family's condo near Raleigh-Durham, N.C. He had returned home from the hospital just a couple of days before.
Spoon, as he was more commonly known, spent 19 seasons on the bench with Missouri State, Saint Louis and UNLV compiling a 373-202 overall record with eight NCAA Tournament appearances.
Spoonhours first nine season as a head coach were spent at Southwest Missouri State, now known as Missouri State, amassing a 197-81 record with five NCAA tournament appearances.
The entire Missouri State University family is deeply saddened by the passing of Coach Spoonhour, said MSU Director of Athletics Kyle Moats. His legacy is one of class, distinction and achievement, and he will be dearly missed by the many lives he touched in his many endeavors.
During his time in Saint Louis, he led the Billikens to the NCAA Tournament three times over seven seasons, compiling a 122-90 record while creating a buzz around the city with his unique brand of basketball known as 'Spoonball'.
"Charlie was a beloved figure to SLU basketball fans and St. Louis sports fans in general forever," said Ramsey, who has served as the longtime radio voice of the Billikens.
"The excitement that he created with 'Spoonball' in the 90's with the Billikens will be hard to duplicate because he created more than just winning basketball.
"His demeanor, style and warmth was embraced by the entire community and that is what made him special.".
"Spoon was absolutely the best person that I've ever worked with," former Saint Louis media relations director Doug McIlhagga noted. "He built tremendous loyalty because he treated everyone connected to the program as the most important person.
"He transformed Billiken basketball in the 90's into a hot ticket. Spoon made it fun and popular to be a SLU fan."
Charlie Spoonhour is survived by his wife, Vicki, and two sons, Jay and Stephen.
Arrangements are pending.