Written by Joe Gabbert
The University of Nebraska-Omaha’s athletic department received its largest ever private gift to its men’s basketball department. The gift was made through the estate of UNO alumnus and benefactor, the late Robert Stedman, to the University of Nebraska Foundation. The amount of which he gave has not been disclosed.
Stedman’s gift will supply an opportunity for the Mavericks men’s team to play in overseas competition. UNO’s first chance to play overseas will be in the summer of 2015. It will also be used to support student athlete recruitment and create more scholarship opportunities.
Stedman, who passed away in 2011 at the age of 84, played both basketball and football for Omaha University (Now UNO) from 1947-1951 after returning from military service. He graduated in 1951 with a business degree.
“Bob Stedman was a true supporter and fan of our program and of UNO,” said Derrin Hansen, UNO’s men’s basketball coach. “Even though he lived in Florida, he visited often, and we’d frequently talk about UNO basketball. Bob loved to reminisce about his days playing here. He had many special memories of UNO and many aspirations for the basketball program.”
Hansen continued to explain how big this is for the program.
“We are extremely grateful for his generous support during his life and now for his latest gift, which will help make some of our dreams reality. In particular, the overseas playing opportunity will be a tremendous benefit for our student-athletes and help promote UNO,” Hansen said.
Jalen Bradley, a redshirt freshman member of the UNO men’s basketball team agrees, saying he and his teammates are excited about the chance to play overseas.
“What better way to build team chemistry and play additional exhibition games just prior to the opening of our new arena in 2015,” he added.
Stedman was an Omaha native most of his life. He graduated from Omaha Central High School in 1945 and then served as part of the military police in the U.S. Army during the occupation of Germany from 1945 to 1947. After his time at Omaha University, he joined the Equitable Life Insurance Company where he would become a fraud investigator from the early 60’s until 1985. In 1985 he retired to Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. From 1985 until his death, he focused his energy on his investments, as well as on how his wealth could benefit students through scholarships at the University of Nebraska at Omaha.