"Some people have to work harder for grades. It comes easy for you."
"Did you go to your 7:40 today?"
"You know how those 7:40s are."
" Norman will get you."
"No, he won't. I'm on to Stormin' Norman. I have heard on good authority that he was really wild when he was in school." Kennedy smiled happily.
Norm Stewart has coached the Missouri basketball team for nine years. In the two seasons before his return to Columbia, where he was a Helms All-America in 1956, the Tigers won six of 49 games; since then they have had only two losing seasons. The current team won a record of 24 regular-season games and two more in the playoffs before losing to Michigan. It was Missouri's first appearance in the NCAA tournament in 32 years.
Stewart is a tall man with an imperious bulldog jaw, a wry wit and a reputation for devouring recalcitrant young athletes and impatient young journalists. His players do not warm to him so much as they respect his ability to coach the game, to find diagnostic truths in the heat of play. He is not unaware of their feelings. "They think I'm a hard guy," he said, the thin line of his lips rising at the corners of his impressive jaw. Last Christmas the team gave him a toilet seat with the University of Missouri seal on it. "I know what they were trying to tell me," he said.
Stewart's budget runs around $200,000 a year; he spends $15,000 recruiting. It cost virtually nothing to recruit Jim Kennedy, he being right up the road in St. Louis waiting for the call.