There are people in life that have an immediate impact on you. Steve Stewart is someone that you meet and you know that you have met someone genuine, unique, and good-hearted… and your life will never be the same for having met this amazing person.
When I first came to Harrisburg Academy, Steve was the Middle School athletics director and had served as athletics director for the entire school for 19 years. We immediately bonded over stories from our high school and college sports days. And he began the process of mentoring me, the “new kid,” to run the Upper School Athletics department. Remember, no one was working on a computer at this time. Steve shared his detailed letters, boxes of stats, rolling index, and collection of records and pictures with me. I was overwhelmed with the thought of keeping track of it all. Shouldn’t the Academy have hired a sports information director or an athletic trainer? How did this man do it all with just pen and paper?
After much thought, I decided I was up for the challenge. A year later, I bought my own laptop and pitched the white-out and word processor. Needless to say, I never looked back. The one thing I do look back on – quite fondly, I might add – is the man who started it all. Steve Stewart has been my mentor and friend throughout the years, and he has stayed connected to the Academy’s athletics programs even after officially retiring from the athletic director position. He started coaching again, became chair of the Athletics Hall of Fame in 2004, and continues to work the score clock at home basketball games.
Steve is like a big brother to me. I came to know Steve’s wife, Joanna, and his son, Greg ’02. Steve is someone who does not take himself too seriously and is grounded in his faith. He has given me the gift of his friendship and has worked unselfishly for the cause, never to have his name recognized because he believes in what he is doing. In 2006, the Academy named the Middle School 3-year, 3-sport award in his honor. Now known as the Steven B. Stewart Award, it reflects the passion, loyalty, and dedication to sports and academics that mirrors Steve’s love of and commitment to both. In his speech at the Middle School Athletics Banquet, he said “45 years of teaching, 30 of them coaching Academy teams, has given me time to reflect on the impact that participation in athletics can have on one’s life. Looking back over the years, I have found the advantages of playing sports and taking in life’s experiences to be immeasurable.”
Stay tuned to a future Spartan Spirit blog for the complete text of Steve’s speech to the Academy’s Middle School athletes.
Photo: The 2013 recipients of the Steven B. Stewart Award. From left: Jonathon P. ’17, Amelia N. ’17, Krista T. ’18, and Alex M. ’18 with Mr. Stewart.