A voice synonymous with Redbird athletics is silenced.
Steve Adams was the public address announcer at Illinois State men's basketball and football games for decades. Adams, 73, died Friday after a more than three-year battle with pancreatic cancer.
Adams volunteered as the public address announcer for ISU men’s basketball games for 40 seasons, amassing more than 600 home games, according to ISU Athletics. He also served as PA announcer for more than 200 Redbird football games prior to the renovation of Hancock Stadium in 2015.
ISU Athletics Director Larry Lyaons called Adams a great mentor and friend.
"He was a guy who made a difference in so many lives." said Lyons, including his own.
"He took a young pup under his wing when I first got to know him when I came here. We talked sports and the ins and outs of the university. And how to maneuver and get things done."
Adams also worked in ISU administration in various capacities for 37 years. He was inducted into the ISU Athletics Percy Family Hall of Fame in 1992.
ISU men's basketball coach Dan Muller first knew Adams when Muller was a student-athlete, then later as head coach. Muller said it was comforting to see Adams at games for so many years, especially after he became ill.
“Seeing him, whether it was at a game or an event with that smile on his face, was always inspiring,” Muller said. “It was just so good to see him.”
Lyons said Adams’ voice and personality were iconic to many Redbird fans.
“The word iconic is not quite enough to describe Steve," Lyons said. "To many, he was larger than life and was a proud Redbird. He represented not only athletics, but the entire university with his professionalism and dignity."
Lyons said Adams always saw better days ahead even as he battled cancer.
"I talked to him on Wednesday and he wanted to go to a Redbird game," Lyons recalled. "We just didn't have any. We won't have any practices or games he can go to.
"But it was great to hear his voice one last time."
Lyons said the university is working on plans to honor Adams after the campus reopens.
"I'm very hopeful we can do that in front of a large number of people because he deserves it," he said.
Adams was a Bloomington native who graduated from University High School in Normal and Illinois Wesleyan University in Bloomington before he served in the U.S Army in Seoul, South Korea, from 1968-1970. He was awarded the Joint Services Commendation Medal for Meritorious Service.
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