SEC Storied film ‘Norm’ airs Sunday Night on SEC Network

UNC coach Roy Williams: “The toughness that you saw in Norm, his team adopted that.”
ESPN

When Kim Anderson goes to McDonald’s and orders two sausage biscuits and an iced tea and they ask the name for his order, he says, “Norm.”

That, along with hundreds of anecdotes like it, will be on display Sunday night as the SEC Storied film titled just that — “Norm” — airs on the SEC Network. The hourlong film takes the viewer through the career of Norm Stewart, the hall-of-fame former Missouri basketball coach.

In the film, there’s a scene in Booches featuring burgers and pool tables. There are images of the Columns. And Stewart wouldn’t have it any other way — he’s as Missouri as it gets.

“You know what the nicest compliment you can get is from someone in Missouri?” Stewart says in the film. “‘Well, (you’re) pretty good.’”

I’m not from Missouri, so I feel comfortable saying that Stewart was more than pretty good. He was great.

Stewart was great on the court — 731 wins, six Big-8 tournament titles, 16 NCAA tournament appearances and two Elite Eight appearances — but he was even better off of it. Stewart is the founder of the “Coaches vs. Cancer” foundation, one that has raised more than $100 million as it “empowers coaches, their teams, and communities to join the fight against cancer by participating in awareness efforts, advocacy programs, and fundraising activities,” something driven by his own battle with colon cancer.

“How many guys can end up having their legacy being Coaches vs. Cancer and helping raise over 100 million dollars as opposed to winning 700 games and being a hall-of-famer?” current Kansas coach Bill Self asks in the film.

None. Zero. Zip.

It’s often hard to appreciate things in the moment. For many Missouri fans, I’d bet Stewart’s coaching tenure is one of those things.

Growing up in Shelbyville, Missouri, where the film begins, Stewart played both baseball and basketball. In his senior year, his high school basketball team lost the state championship — a game and a moment that’s stuck with him to this day.

“Coach Kessler took us out of the game because we were being beaten badly, so we sat down (at the end of the game) and I had my head down,” Stewart says in the film. “And he came by, and he said, ‘You put your head up, and don’t you ever put it down.’”

During his 32-year at Missouri, Stewart never seemed to. He was confident in his style of play, he was confident in his players, and he was confident against even, yes, Kansas.

And that confidence rubbed off.

“His teams were very fundamentally sound, very disciplined, they took the right shots on the offensive end and competed like crazy on the defensive end,” current North Carolina and former Kansas coach Roy Williams says in the film. “The toughness that you saw in Norm, his team adopted that.”

Former players Jon Sunvold, John Brown, Gary Link, Anthony Peeler, Derrick Chievous and Anderson are fantastic in the film. Each story and each of Stewart’s teaching points groomed them into the men they are today.

“I think, the biggest thing he taught me was how to survive,” Anderson says. “When you get knocked down, (he taught me) to get back up.”

Today’s Missouri basketball team is laced with Stewart’s presence. Anderson is the coach, Link is the radio commentator and Sunvold’s kids attend the school.

“Who else is Missouri?” Chievous says towards the end of the film. “It’s taken a long time to answer that.

“(Norm) is Missouri.”

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