Rowan University (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
PRESS RELEASE NOV. 29, 2012
GLASSBORO, NJ – Hanging on the wall above the basketball court resides the 1996 Men’s Basketball National Championship banner. Perhaps the biggest reason for capturing the title was the play and leadership of Terrence Stewart.
Stewart played an instrumental role during Rowan’s championship season. He finished his senior year with 16.8 points and 5.8 rebounds per game. His performance in the NCAA Tournament resulted in being named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player.
At the time of his last game, Stewart left Rowan as the school’s all-time leading scorer (1,628) and the 19th member of the prestigious 1,000 point club. His record was later broken by Matt Byrnes (1,988) in 2008.
The fourth game of his coaching career was a trip to Glassboro to face Rowan. While the Profs topped the Mighty Macs on Monday, Stewart was thrilled to return to his old stomping grounds.
“This is where it all started and I have a lot of great memories and many great wins I remember here,” said Stewart. “There was a lot of success here and there are very fond memories of coming back. I got a little tingle coming back.”
When Stewart first walked onto the court at Esbjornson Gymnasium as a freshman in 1992, there were a few older players ahead of him, which limited some of the opportunities he had on the floor. Nonetheless, he didn’t let that obstacle impede his goal.
“I didn’t settle and I wanted to get better, to contribute and to be a part of the team,” said Stewart. “I felt like whatever coach asked me to do I was going to do it, whether it was defense, rebounding or scoring. I did whatever it took to be on the floor.”
Stewart’s best season statistically was his junior year. He set career highs in points (19.7), field goals (194) and three pointers (61). In addition, he went 141-for-176 (.801) from the foul line. That year, he was honored as the New Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC) Player of the Year.
Stewart’s decorated collegiate career included three NJAC All-Conference selections and four appearances in the NCAA Tournament. Equally as impressive was his team’s record during his four years (110-12).
“This was a place that was very special to me and good to me for all four years,” said Stewart.
After Rowan, Stewart made the rare jump from Division III to professional basketball overseas. He spent his 12-year pro career in various countries, including France, Germany, Israel, Uruguay, Argentina and Venezuela. His last stop was in Spain with CAI Zaragoza. Just as he did in college, Stewart excelled at the highest ranks. He earned All-Import first team honors three times and was an All-Import second team selection on four occasions.
While there, Stewart soaked in all he could and learned many new things, most notably how to act at the highest level.
“The biggest thing I learned was how to be a professional and how to approach the game with passion. If you love it, you have to work at it every day,” said Stewart. “It’s been good to me and I feel I’ve been blessed to have the opportunity to go overseas from Division III. It was a testament of working hard and believing in the Lord.”
After wrapping up his professional career, Stewart returned to the court as a head coach of a 17U AAU team before joining LaSalle University as their video coordinator and assistant director of basketball operations.
At LaSalle, Stewart was reunited with his former Rowan head coach, John Giannini.
“It was great getting back with Giannini because I was at the level where I still looked up to him. He taught me so much as a player but being there gave me the opportunity to sit and watch him,” said Stewart. “I was like a sponge every day. I was blessed to learn from someone who has won games at every level. It was like icing on the cake to be able to go to LaSalle and watch him have success.”
While Stewart was absorbing all he could from his former coach, Giannini noticed the coaching potential in his former player.
“Terrence was a great role model and mentor to our players at LaSalle. He also was full of ideas and he has an exceptional basketball mind,” said Giannini. “He’s not only intelligent, but he loves basketball, studies it and has played for so many good coaches professionally that he knows the game. He brings fundamental teaching, good ideas, character and positive relationships to
With exposure to all aspects of basketball during his life, Stewart hopes to translate all of his past success into a winning head coaching career.
“I bring experience, intensity and accountability. I’m a person who played the game so I understand how to play it and approach the game,” said Stewart. “I try to teach my kids the mental aspect of it. I try to give them the whole aspect of what it takes to play basketball at a high level hoping that they listen to what I’m saying and apply it to their own game because some of my guys are very talented.”
Stewart preaches one concept to his players – the thing he believes that made him as successful as he was: “Without hard work you’re not going to get anywhere and you have to have faith in yourself.”