ST. LOUIS – Players for the St. Louis University Men’s Basketball team are trying to wrap their heads around the loss of Coach Ford Stuen who died in the hospital Tuesday morning due to a severe infection.
Coach Stuen was only 29-years-old, one of the youngest coaches at the university. He leaves behind his wife Courtney, daughter Lucy, and unborn son.
Towards the end of the season, Coach Stuen mentioned he was getting severe stomach pains. Around Easter Sunday he was hospitalized and diagnosed with an infection. He battled for weeks, and even after being induced into a coma, his body was unable to fight off the infection.
Stuen had been with the men’s basketball program at SLU for five years. He served three years as the team’s director of player development before being promoted to assistant coach two years ago.
Stuen came to St. Louis with his uncle, head coach Travis Ford, after playing under him for four years at Oklahoma State.
“He just brought a different type of energy than everyone else. I mean, again with him being so young he related more to us more than any of the other coaches. We’re going to miss him,” sophomore guard Yuri Collins said.
“He just brought a livelihood and kind of this energy about him that I don’t think anybody else had. Every day he was always smiling. He was always energetic,” redshirt freshman Gibson Jimerson said. “He would come in here with me and other guys and shoot around with us – joke with us. We kind of felt like he was one of us in a sense, and I just really appreciate him.”
Redshirt sophomore Fred Thatch said, “He was a special guy. He always positive. He always had a smile on his face, and one thing that really stood out about him was he was extremely detailed. Whether that was on the court, off the court – he could always teach you something just by being around him. He just impacted everyone in such a positive way.”
“He was always that happy guy that would walk around smiling. He would talk to everyone and make them smile. He has that kind of energy around him. He’s been everything for our program, so losing him is big. It hurts. He came in here every day with a positive attitude, so that’s the least we can do,” JaVonte Perkins said.
The players and staff say they will remember Stuen most for his energy, positive attitude, and unique swagger.
No information has been released on funeral arrangements.
Our thoughts and prayers are with the Stuen family through this difficult time.