UT Martin basketball coach Anthony Stewart was found dead Sunday just before the start of his fifth season with the Skyhawks. He was 50.

“We are stunned to hear this tragic news,” athletic director Kurt McGuffin said. “Coach Stewart was a true leader to every one of the young men he coached. He emphasized the meaning of a college degree and instilled professionalism in each of his student-athletes. We ask for privacy during this difficult time.”

Stewart took over in 2016-17 and won 22 games to tie the school record for most wins in a single season. That was the third-highest total among the 29 first-year head coaches in Division I. UT Martin won its first outright Ohio Valley Conference West division title and reached the OVC Tournament championship game for a second straight year.

From Akron, Ohio, Stewart played basketball and baseball at Mount Union before graduating in 1993. He was an entrepreneur before going into coaching in 2001 at Columbus State Community College. He was an assistant at Long Beach State from 2004-2006, Wyoming, Southern Illinois and Ohio University.

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