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Martinsville High School Alumni
Class of 1966 Reply  |   Post Message  |   Message List
Missing Steve Saunders - 13
01/13/06     Mel Cartwright  (1966)      mel_cartwright@yahoo.com
Often when a New Year arrives, we take the time to honor those who left us in the previous one. This past fall Steven K. Saunders passed away in Myrtle Beach, SC. Steve moved to Martinsville from Roanoke as a child when his father moved here to assume a position as an engineer at DuPont. Steve played on the 1964 and 1966 Basketball State Championship teams, and was named co-MVP of the 1966 team, as well as selected to the All State team.

This is the 40th anniversary of that 66 team that was decimated by Mumps, lost 8 consecutive contests and yet won it all with a barely winning record of 12-11. This brought home the first of seven for legendary Coach Husky Hall. Forty years ago almost all teams played a two guard front. The specialization of a point guard and shooting guard had not yet become accepted methodology.

He went on to play at Fork Union and for four years at Roanoke College where he was a standout guard. While in college I had the opportunity of watching Steve play other opponents, and had the task as well as pleasure of playing against him. I thought the manner that Steve played contributed to the change in style.

While attending services for Steve held in Martinsville, I had a chance to talk to Steves college coach Charlie Moir who in addition to winning a National Championship at Roanoke College went on to coach both Tulane University and Virginia Tech. He confirmed what I thought, that Steve was a true point guard before the term was coined, and helped change the way he recruited and coached.

A point guard runs the show, he is a coach on the floor and most important puts team success well above need for personal statistics. I had the pleasure of knowing and being close to Steve for almost fifty years. He was businessman, family man and friend who lived and led in the same unselfish manner that he played basketball. All who knew him will miss him.

Mel Cartwright
1406 Whittle Road
Martinsville, VA 24112


01/13/06     jim rothrock      jarothrock@comcast.net
Re: Missing Steve Saunders

So nicely stated and so true.

Take care.

01/17/06     Steve Jester      SteveYMCA@adelphia.net
Re: Missing Steve Saunders
Jake Vickers sent me your thoughts on Steve. As someone who played against those MHS powerhouses, it was never any fun to face the Bulldogs. It was far worse when you were being guarded by the most feared defensive player in the Piedmont District, Steve Saunders.
01/17/06     Michael Barrows  (1967)      mbarrows@direcway.com
Re: Missing Steve Saunders
When told of Steve's death, my Dad recalled how Steve had guarded L.J. Kilby all over the court in the '66 district final at FC . . even following L.J. to the Bassett bench for a chat with Coach Leftwich during a dead ball. Steve remains the standard by which I measure all point guards.
01/24/06     Whit Gravely  (1971)      rwg@musselwhiteassoc.com
Re: Missing Steve Saunders
What a tribute to Steve and the caliber of his basketball skills and play! Steve has to have been one of the finest guards
to have played for Husky Hall over his many years of coaching, bar none. You really captured the essence of Steve and his intensive play so eloquently.

I will sorely miss Steve and his parents, Kitty and Everette.
01/27/06     Marshall Pinkard  (1968)     
Re: Missing Steve Saunders
Nice letter, Mel.
02/15/06     art kramer  (1970)      amkramer@lycos.com
Re: Missing Steve Saunders
I remember the '66 district final at FC, like it was yesterday, because I was there. Steve was in LJ Kilby pant's the entire game, and he couldn't do anything that night. LJ was so mad after the loss, that he went into the locker room and broke a mirror on the wall, and had to go to the hospital. I didn't know him that well, because I was in the 8th grade, but I do remember he was a great basketball player. May he rest in peace.
03/21/06     Denny Wade  (1969)      dwcamper@yahoo.com
Re: Missing Steve Saunders
Very shocked and saddened to hear of the passing of Steve Saunders. Of course his name is synonymous to great basketball. But I remember that big smile and his friendly demeanor. We weren't big pals, I was a ninth grader when he was a senior, but also remember him at Druid Hills School when it was open for recreation during the summer. And as an underclassman, who didn't look up to Steve and wish they could play like Steve? He had the prettiest jump shot that I can remember. And of course his great defensive tournament performance against Bassett and the great L J Kilby at F-C is legendary. (Just glad the player for Bassett missed that foul shot that sent the game into overtime) His passing is a reminder to me of the brevity of life, and at the same time an encouragement to strive to be the best we can be. I love you Steve for the great memories and for your example.
12/29/06     Bruce Lupton  (1962)      clydelupton@yahoo.com
Re: Missing Steve Saunders
Mel: Sorry I wasn't at MHS during Steve's tenure, but I did get to see your Dad and Coach Hall do their magic with the likes of Mickie Haynes, John Hodges, Jim "Hurt" Young and a few other fine players in the 50's and 60's. Your message about Steve was very well said and informative. Thanks.
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