Stewart Uses Unique K-State Experience to Grow as Coach

July 6, 2015
By Kelly McHugh

Former K-State men’s basketball standout Clent Stewart (2004-08) embarked on a new journey last year.

In July of 2014, he was named the head basketball coach of Bartlesville High School in Bartlesville, Oklahoma, and, in his first season with the Bruins, he led the team to an exciting 2014-15 season. 

“I really enjoyed it,” said Stewart about his first season as a head coach. “We had a pretty good season. We had a lot of really good guys who worked hard and put forth the effort. Also being so close to home and competing against schools that I competed against as a high school athlete, it really is pretty neat for me. I enjoyed it, and I’m looking forward to the future.”

Stewart grew up in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma, and played high school basketball for Bartlesville rival, Union High School. A star on the high school courts, Stewart was recruited to play basketball at K-State by former head coach Jim Wooldridge and went on to a successful playing career with the Cats. 

A four-year starter, Stewart played in 121 games during his K-State career and scored 696 points while grabbing 290 rebounds. During his four years, K-State earned a 76-49 record, and he helped the Wildcats record back-to-back postseason appearances his junior and senior years as K-State made the NIT in 2007 and NCAA Tournament in 2008. 

“Going to K-State and furthering my basketball career there, it was probably the best decision I ever made,” said Stewart. “I love K-State. I really enjoyed my time there and I loved the community and the fan base.”

During his days at K-State, Stewart had the opportunity to learn from and grow with three very different coaches – a factor he said has helped him as he now is working and growing as a coach. He began his Wildcat career playing for Wooldridge and spent a year with Bob Huggins before concluding his collegiate career playing one season for Frank Martin. 

“Going through three different coaches – Wooldridge to Huggins, they were totally different styles, and then Huggins to Martin, they was a similar style but their offense was a little bit different – I’ve learned and taken a little bit from each of them,” said Stewart. “On the defensive end, I’ve used a lot of what I learned with Coach Huggins, and then offensively I’ve used some of Martin’s offense. I tried to take it all in and use what I learned today.”

Stewart let out a laugh when asked which coaching style – Wooldridge, Huggins or Martin – he resembled the most.

“I’m not as fiery as Martin or Huggins,” laughed Stewart. “I think I’m a mix of them all, actually. I use a lot of the philosophies of Huggins and Martin, but when it comes to off-the-court type of things that I try to do to and really build relationships with players, I’m more like Wooldridge. I definitely think I’m a combination of them all and it’s helped me succeed.”

Though this past season was Stewart’s first as the head coach of a high school program, he’s spent plenty of time since his playing days on the basketball court. He began his journey into coaching as the Bartlesville High assistant basketball coach from 2008-10, and since then has spent his summers coaching both boys and girls AAU squads.

However, now in a head coach position, Stewart said he often reflects back on his time at K-State, at the different styles of his three college coaches, and said he has used their examples to grow.

“At K-State, the first thing I came to realize was that everyone there has open arms,” he said. “Everyone there is friendly. It really is a family community and atmosphere. With the position that I’m in now with work and coaching, I have the opportunity to build a lot of relationships, get to know people and I try to be as open and friendly as possible; a lot of that comes from my K-State background.”

Stewart works as an IT Recruiting and Training Coordinator at Phillips 66 and resides in Bartlesville with his wife, Stephanie, also a K-Stater and the Bartlesville High School Pom Coach, and their two daughters.

 

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