Greenwood lost a legend.
Longtime teacher, coach and athletics director Halton Baxter Stewart Jr., known as H.B., died Friday after a six-year bout with prostrate cancer. He was 78.
"He is a Greenwood icon," current Greenwood Athletics Director Jerry Cecil said. "He was a friend to everybody. We are going to miss him."
Stewart graduated from Greenwood in 1953 and just three years later was teaching math and science at his alma mater before even finishing his college work at Arkansas Tech.
"I had him for a couple of science classes when I was a student here," Cecil said. "Everybody loved H.B. He was probably the most popular teacher here then. He had a great personality and a great sense of humor. He was fun and he was funny."
Stewart was a volunteer coach for 10 years while also teaching before earning his first official coaching job as junior high football coach in 1966. During the next 35 years, Stewart coached football, girls basketball and boys basketball.
Stewart was 120-23 in junior high football for 15 years, 129-79 as senior girls basketball coach starting in 1974 and 144-69 as senior boys basketball coach also beginning in 1974 before his retirement from coaching in 1990. As a girls coach, Stewart successfully made the transition from the old 3-on-3 halfcourt era to the 5-on-5 fullcourt style of today.
"One of the things we’re going to miss the most is losing his connection to the past," Cecil said. "He was like a history book. He knew everybody and so much about everything. If you wanted to know something about somebody or when, H.B knew it. There’s not anybody else like him out there. It leaves a hole in the community."
Stewart served as the school’s athletics director from 1985-2000.
"I have had a lot of good help. It has been a team effort. It wasn’t anything particular that I did," Stewart told the Times Record when he was inducted into the Arkansas High School Coaches Association Hall of Fame. "I have been lucky, too. With all of these honors coming all of sudden, it makes you wonder what in the world you did right that God would bless you so much."
His retirement as athletics director only ended his official capacity at the school. Stewart continued to support Greenwood athletics, especially basketball where he still operated the clock at basketball games. The school’s gymnasium is named after Stewart.
"He was a great man and very highly regarded in the community as evidenced by his name being on H.B. Stewart Bulldog Arena," Cecil said. "He raised money and was a real supporter. He was a timer at our varsity basketball games. He stayed very much connected after his retirement."
Stewart was named to the Arkansas High School Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 1999.
Stewart is survived by his wife Barbara and four children, a brother, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
Funeral services will be held at 1 p.m. Monday at H.B. Stewart Bulldog Arena.