We buried my friend Steve Klugman yesterday. The Rabbi said Steve died too soon. Don't all friends? Steve helped raise three boys. Was dedicated to his wife Elaine. Loved coach Roy Williams (even after he left Kansas). Supported his home town and loved sports.
Steve was the best youth sport coach I know. We coached basketball together. Our 7th grade front line of Billy, Kory, Jake and Terry were big, thick and diseased. Every rebound they captured was a testament to positioning, not jumping.
But baseball was Steve's true love. He lead a team to Puerto Rico in 1986 and hosted the return trip in Lenexa Kansas. No better cultural ambassador was possible. While managing and coaching he embraced, and lived, the idea that he was in the business of raising young men through sports. His goal was not ribbons, wins (although his record was well north of .500), medals, trophies, college scholarships or pro contracts. All of those things, if they happened, were happy accidents. Steve was more interested in teamwork, thinking through situations, smart aggressiveness, time management at practices, asking umpires what they had-rather than telling them what he wanted, and showing boys how to be men.
'Klugman' as Elaine, his wife of 41 yrs called him, will ripple through time because of the many people he touched through his sports and his sporting ways. Even those who did not know him are benefiting because of his time here on earth.
Touch 'em all Steve. I'll see you in the bigs.