The Board of Curators may choose Mizzou Arena today as the new name for MU’s basketball building, but, in an informal poll, Columbia and Kansas City fans resoundingly chose — Norm Stewart Arena.
The beloved basketball coach already has had the court itself named after him. Stewart led the Tigers for 32 seasons. He earned a 634-333 record, including eight Big Eight Conference titles. Stewart was also an All-American player from 1954-56 and is one of six Tiger players to have his jersey retired.
The re-naming of the arena comes on the heels of allegations that Paige Laurie, for whom the arena was named, paid a fellow University of Southern California student $20,000 to write dozens of papers for her.
Here’s what MU basketball fans had to say about renaming the arena in e-mail messages and in interviews around town and in Kansas City, where the Tigers were taking on Houston on Wednesday:
“I think the name should have something to do with Norm Stewart. If you don’t think Norm was a good coach, you don’t know basketball. He beat KU; Quin can’t do it.” Dan Vestal
“Name it after the best basketball player. Name it after those guys that are going to be playing there.” Jay Johnson
“KU’s second home. They always win there.” Marcus Garcia
“I know they gave the rights back, but name it the Laurie Arena. Or name it after Norm Stewart: that means something.” Emily Bach
“How about Truman Arena? But I would go with Stewart Center before I go with that.” Matt Wanserski
“What’s the girl’s name that wrote Paige’s papers?” Tom Victor
“Basketball is the sport we’re talking about, and in the history of this university, no one has done more, won more games, given the game more credibility and integrity, than Norman Stewart. The arena should have been named after him from the outset; circumstances have now made it so.” Norm Benedict
“Ideally, it should be Norm Stewart Arena. But if that’s not going to fly, make it Mizzou Sports Arena. Fans and media would shorten it to The ’Zou.” Tim Robertson
“I think it should be just called the Mizzou Sports Arena or just Sports Arena. I have heard commercials or promos about events taking place at the Sports Arena and them just calling it the Sports Arena, so I figured that they had already dropped the Paige.” Heidi Boyer
“Walton Arena to acknowledge Sam Walton, whose hard work gave the Lauries and the Kroenkes, the empire to spend from.” Greg Stafford
“No question. It should be the ‘Storm Center.’ ” Suzie Baldwin