June 9, 1997
KALAMAZOO -- Ron Stewart, who has been an assistant with nationally-prominent men's basketball programs at Florida and Kansas State, has been named as the new head women's basketball coach at Western Michigan University. The announcement was made Saturday (June 7) by director of athletics Jim Weaver.
Stewart, 47, served six years (1991-96) on head coach Lon Kruger's Florida staff during which time the Gators qualified for two NCAA tournaments, reaching the Final Four in 1994, and also were in the Final Four of the National Invitation Tournament. In 1995 at Gainesville, he assisted with practice and training camp for the USA Basketball World University Games Team.
He initially joined Kruger at Kansas State (1987-90) where the Wildcats made four NCAA appearances. The 1988 club played in the Big Eight Conference and NCAA regional championship games. Stewart earlier had two-year stints as an assistant for Dave Bliss at Southern Methodist (1981-82) and at Nebraska (1979-80), with the Cornhuskers qualifying for the NIT.
"I'm pleased and proud that Ron Stewart is our new head women's basketball coach at Western Michigan," remarked Weaver. "He is a tireless worker who possesses outstanding integrity, a thorough knowledge of the game and excellent recruiting skills. I believe he is the best person to take our program to the next level."
A native of Speedway, Ind., Stewart had head high school coaching experiences at Carmel (1983-85) and Indianapolis Cathedral (1977-78), guiding both of those clubs to sectional titles. He began coaching at the junior high school level in 1973 and served at two Carmel schools.
During the past year, Stewart has been national director of Showcase Camps for All Star Sports of Lenior, N. C. He has had private business experience as a travel agency owner and as a sales manager for a home builder.
Stewart is a 1971 graduate of Indiana University, where he majored in political science/education. He received a master's in history/political science from Butler University in 1977.
Stewart becomes WMU's fourth women's basketball coach. He replaces Pat Charity who resigned her position after seven years on May 16 to accept a position as assistant coach/recruiting coordinator at the University of Alabama.
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