Remembering: When Charlie Spoonhour Rescued the Bronze Billiken
When word was released that former SLU coach Charlie Spoonhour had passed away this week, the response from former players, fans, media and fellow coaches was universal. Spoon was considered by everyone as a genuinely likeable guy in an industry that often produces the polar opposite.
What Spoonhour did for the Billikens basketball program – turning it from a 5-win disaster to a national storyline- was memorable, but perhaps he was even more important to the school than anyone remembers.
Who knew that, in his first year, he’d be the good luck charm that brought the school’s good luck charm back home…
There’s really only one logical conclusion to be made – whoever it was that stole the Buddha Billiken 42-years earlier was clearly impressed when SLU managed to snatch a coach as respected as Spoonhour from Southwest Missouri State. What better way to demonstrate that than to return a statue they’d held hostage for half a century. If only they could have dressed it up in one of Spoon’s trademark black mock turtlenecks to make the message even more clear.
All we know is that, if our intel is correct, when the Billiken was returned to campus, it reached out and rubbed Charlie’s belly for luck.