Longtime Illinois State University public address announcer Steve Adams passed away on May 8, at the age of 73, following a battle with pancreatic cancer for more than three years.
Announcing for 600 plus home games, Adam's volunteered his time to be the voice of Redbird men's basketball for 40 seasons. Adams also found himself announcing for more than 200 ISU football games. While briefly retiring back in 2013, Adams returned to Doug Collins court these past several years to deliver his trademark style once again.
"Redbird Athletics is saddened to learn of Steve's passing. To generations of fans who attended games at Horton Field House, Hancock Stadium and Redbird Arena, his voice was one of the first things they heard when entering the facility and the last voice heard before they left," said Illinois State Director of Athletics Larry Lyons.
"The word iconic is not quite enough to describe Steve. To many, he was larger than life and was a proud Redbird. He represented not only athletics, but the entire university with his professionalism and dignity. He mentored so many young people on this campus, not to mention several administrators including myself. His signature 'This Is Redbird Basketball' call to start a game will echo in our collective memories. Our hearts go out to Sandi (Adams) and his family at this difficult time. He will be missed."
Adams spent his 37-year career in higher education at Illinois State. He worked in administrative positions in Academic Affairs for nearly 30 years in roles including assistant vice president for Enrollment Management and Academic Services and director of Admissions. Adams also served in interim roles as director of Financial Aid and director of Enrollment Management.
For the final five years of his formal career at Illinois State, Adams served as the vice president for Student Affairs before retiring from the university in 2011. The Division of Student Affairs Legacy Hall of Fame is named in honor of Steve and Sandi Adams for their years of commitment to Illinois State.
In 1992, Adam's was inducted into the ISU Athletics Percy Family Hall of Fame as he was given the Campbell "Stretch" Miller award for his dedication and passion for all ISU Athletics.
Adams was also recognized for several other accomplishments throughout his career, including the Neal R. Gamsky Quality of Student Life Award from Illinois State Student Affairs, Illinois Basketball Coaches Association Hall of Fame and the University High School Alumni Association Pioneer Hall of Fame. The ISU Alumni Association also named him an Honorary Member.
Before his days at ISU, Adams earned a Bachelor of Science degree in business administration from Illinois Wesleyan in 1968. He then went on to serve in the United States Army with the United Nations Command in Seoul, South Korea, from 1968 to 1970. Adams was awarded the Joint Services Commendation Medal for Meritorious Service. After his military service, Adams completed graduate coursework in counseling at ISU and was a Fellow in the Education Policy Fellowship Program in Washington, D.C.
He is remembered by his wife Sandi; daughters, Katie (Ben) Hart, and SuzAnne Smithson; grandchildren, Lauren and Alex Hart and Riley and Cooper Smithson. Also remembering are his niece Linda (Bob) St. John and nephew, Scott Tjaden.