St. Louis, MO (KSDK) - Former Billikens basketball coach Charlie Spoonhour died Wednesday following a long battle with a lung disease. He was 72.
Saint Louis University tweeted that Spoonhour passed away Wednesday morning.
Spoonhour died at the family's condo near Chapel Hill, North Carolina of complications that developed following lung transplant surgery in August of 2010. He had been in and out of Duke University Medical Center since the surgery.
Spoonhour was diagnosed in early 2010 with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, a condition defined by Mayo Clinic as "scarring or thickening of the lungs without a known cause."
Spoonhour, a native of Mulberry, Kansas, was hired at Missouri State before the 1983-84 season. By his third season he had the Bears in D-I postseason play for the first time with the team beating Pittsburgh and Marquette before losing at Florida in the quarterfinals of the National Invitation Tournament.
The Bears reached the NCAA Tournament for the first time in March of 1987, stunning Clemson in the Southeast Regional in Atlanta before losing to Kansas.
It was the first of five NCAA Tournaments that Spoonhour guided the school to over a six-year period. He left after the 1991-92 season to coach at Saint Louis University.
Known nearly as much for his folksy charm and quick wit than for his coaching, Spoonhour finished with a 197-81 record in nine seasons at MSU.
Spoonhour compiled a 122-90 record in seven seasons at Saint Louis, including three NCAA Tournaments. He retired, but returned to coaching after just one year, this time at Nevada-Las Vegas where he had a 54-31 record in three seasons.
Spoonhour lived in Las Vegas until his lung illness and, with wife Vicki, lived in the Durham, N.C., area following his surgery.
Following his coaching career, Spoonhour was a popular basketball analyst for the Missouri Valley Conference and the Oklahoma Sooners network.
Spoonhour is survived by his wife, Vicki, and two sons, Jay and Stephen.
Funeral arrangements are pending. A moment of silence will occur in a pregame tribute to Spoonhour at Wednesday night's Missouri State men's basketball game against Wichita State.
Information from the Springfield News-Leader was used in this report.