March 3, 2012
Columbia, Mo. -
The University of Missouri Department of Athletics was saddened to learn the news that former Tiger great Norris Stevenson had passed away early this morning in his hometown of St. Louis, Mo. The Department sends its prayers and best wishes to Mr. Stevenson's family and loved ones in this difficult time. Mr. Stevenson was a football letterman at Mizzou from 1958-60 and was a 2001 inductee into the MU Athletics Hall of Fame. A copy of his induction bio follows, as does a comment from Head Football Coach Gary Pinkel.
Service and memorial information is not yet known, but will be sent out when finalized.
HEAD FOOTBALL COACH Gary Pinkel
"The Mizzou family lost a great, great man in Norris Stevenson. I had such a tremendous respect for everything he accomplished, and how he carried himself, he was such a good man. I fully believe that he played a huge role in helping us get back on track in St. Louis, in terms of the perception of our program and what we're about. He loved Mizzou, that was very clear to me, and we're all very sad to have lost Norris. He'll be remembered around here as a very important figure in our history."
NORRIS STEVENSON'S HALL OF FAME INDUCTION BIO, 2001:
A pioneer in Tiger Athletics who broke the color barrier in football, as he became the first African-American to receive a football scholarship at the University ... Lettered from 1958-60 and played on Hall of Fame Coach Dan Devine's teams that went a combined 22-9-1 and won the Big Eight Conference championship in 1960 - MU's last outright conference title ... That team, which went 10-1 on the field (11-0 after a later forfeit by Kansas) is widely recognized as the best team in Tiger history, and was ranked number one in the nation late in the season before ending the year ranked 4th in the final polls ... Was a bruising fullback in Devine's offensive ground attack who was 2nd on the team in rushing as a senior in 1960 with 687 yards and five touchdowns ... Ended his career with 1,174 rushing yards and 7 TDs, and also caught 3 TD passes in his career ... Led Missouri to a 41-19 win at Oklahoma in 1960 that helped vault the Tigers to the top of the national polls for the first time in school history ... Rushed for 169 yards and TDs of 77 and 60 yards in that historic game that saw MU become the first conference team to win in Norman, Okla. Since 1942 ... Played on both sides of the ball early in his career ... Was drafted in the 11th round of the 1961 NFL Draft by the Dallas Cowboys, but spent the 1961 season on Dallas' injured reserve list ... Went on to play in the Canadian Football League for the Edmonton Eskimos and the British Columbia Lions ... Also competed at MU in track and field for MU Coach Tom Botts ... Has coached collegiate track and field in St. Louis at Forest Park Community College and Florissant Valley for nearly 30 years ... Coached American pole vault record holder Jeff Hartwig at Florissant ... Was inducted into the Missouri Track and Field Association Hall of Fame in 1999 ... His brother, Jerry, also played football at Missouri ... Currently resides in his hometown of St. Louis, Mo.