News Item

Bob Stoner calls it a career, announces retirement as Lander SID

April 14, 2016

Bob Stoner will retire this summer as Lander University’s first and only Sports Information Director (SID), capping a 28-year career at the university.

Stoner, whose official title is assistant athletic director for sports media, joined Lander in 1988 as assistant public relations director, a position he held for seven years. Charlotte Cabri, retired director of University Relations and Publications, said Stoner used words and photographs to tell a story. “He made his mark in University Relations, and we were fortunate to have him continue to provide us with articles and photos after he moved to athletics.”

While working full time for Cabri, then-athletics director Finis Horne recruited Stoner to become Lander’s basketball statistician, and to coach men’s and women’s cross country. Then, in 1995 he moved into athletics full time as SID. He coached the cross country teams for 19 years, until the sport was dropped.

Bob Stoner resize

Stoner, a native of Pinesville, Ky., earned distinction as Peach Belt Conference Coach of the Year in 1992, 1993 and 2004, and NAIA Area 7 Coach of the Year in 1990.

Stoner said running was his passion, and he has the background to prove it. While a student at Western Kentucky University (WKU), where he graduated in 1980 with degrees in journalism and Spanish, he was a member of the university’s cross country team and qualified four times for the Boston Marathon. He planned to run in Boston in 1980 but a serious leg injury kept him out of the race and ended his marathon career.

Stoner planned to teach Spanish after college but chose journalism after working on the sports staff of the WKU student newspaper. After graduating, he became a sports writer at newspapers in Middlesboro, Ky., and Kingsport, Tenn., and sports editor for the Aiken Standard, in Aiken. He was honored twice by the South Carolina Press Association as a sports columnist and once by the Kentucky Press Association for photography.

Of his SID career at Lander, Stoner said, “I get to do everything I like to do. I write, take photos and manage the athletics department website,” which he created. But, he emphasized, it is anything but a 9 to 5 job. In addition to working days, he works nights and weekends, covering Lander sports events and preparing information for the news media, and the athletics website, and keeping statistics.

He enjoys the job, but said, “It’s a young man’s game.” His workload, age and years of service persuaded him to retire before the start of next fall’s sports season.

Jeff May, vice president and director of Athletics, noted that Stoner’s job required him to work long hours and juggle many tasks, and he described him as a stellar employee. “He places great value on professionalism, loyalty, patience and dependability. He is a good friend and a very good associate.”

Cheryl Bell, associate athletic director and senior woman administrator, has worked with Stoner during his years in the athletics program. She said, “Bob is a mild-mannered professional who always strives to accommodate everyone while doing an outstanding job.”

Joe Cabri, retired Lander men’s tennis coach and winner of 12 national championships, said Stoner had many duties and his results were always well done. He added, “It will take two or three people to replace him.”

What will Stoner miss most when he retires? He said, “I’ll miss the games the most, and my relationships with student-athletes and my colleagues at Lander and other schools. It’s been fun to be a part of Lander and its great sports program.”

Stoner will not leave athletics behind entirely after Lander. He said he plans to pursue his passion for sports photography in his next career.