FEINSWOG: And then I missed her some more

"Sue Gunter Court." Doesn't that sound right?

We weren't surprised when word came that Sue died last week. But it nonetheless caused a flood of emotions for those who loved and knew such a special person who influenced so many.


I happened to be with Bonita Johnson, who, as Bonita Branch, played for Gunter at Stephen F. Austin and then transferred with her to LSU in 1983.


Bo is now the basketball coach at U-High. She smiled at the memory of Sue Gunter, who meant so much to her as a coach and friend. Bo is part of Sue's legacy, but more on that in a minute.


As soon as Sue died LSU began to gather and distribute for the media comments from around the basketball world about her. Anyone who's anyone in the game had something to say about their lost friend.


LSU hung a banner on the Pete Maravich Assembly Center honoring Gunter, who next month will be inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame. It is the greatest measure of respect in the sport and one that couldn't be more deserved.


It's also just one of many reasons why the floor inside the PMAC should now be called "Sue Gunter Court."


Every player and coach who ever plays in a future basketball game at LSU should be reminded of Sue by honoring her in that way.


Regardless, she's honored daily in another way, through her former players who carry on her work as coaches.


It's really remarkable how many of them there are, from her first great star at LSU, Joyce Walker, who's a high school coach in Seattle, to her replacement at LSU, Pokey Chatman. Chatman, of course, came to play for Gunter and never left, working as her longtime assistant and finally taking over two seasons ago when Gunter's health failed.


Chatman's assistant, Carla Berry, also played for Gunter.


You'd be surprised at how many former LSU women's basketball managers are either coaches or are still in the game in some capacity.


But back to Bo Johnson. She noted that at one time a few years ago, when she was coaching at Lee High, the district included three other former Lady Tigers, Annette Jackson-Lowery at Dutchtown, April Brown at Plaquemine and Latasha Dorsey at Istrouma.


Brown is now the new coach at St. Joseph's Academy, replacing yet another former Lady Tiger, Allison Weiner Price. Dorsey is at St. Thomas More in Lafayette.


They could schedule Dayna Kohn's team at Woodlawn. For that matter, it would be rare to have a girls basketball game in Baton Rouge without some kind of influence from Gunter.


Ever since she stopped working, I've missed being able to drop into Sue's office to solve the problems of the world. She'd ask someone to bring us come coffee and we'd talk about all sorts of things, from basketball to golf to people we knew and laugh the whole time doing it. She would always ask about my daughter, who she hadn't seen in years but always remembered from the one time she went to her camp as a little girl 15 years ago.


I was so happy for Sue when I attended the announcement last April of her selection to the Basketball Hall of Fame. I called right away, but she was in rehab and her friend said she couldn't talk. I think I knew that day I probably would never see or talk to her again.


When word came last Thursday the first thing I thought of was how wonderful it was that Sue lasted long enough to know that she would be honored forever in the game's greatest museum.


And then I missed her some more.




Lee Feinswog is the author of "Tales From The LSU Sidelines," a Baton Rouge sportswriter and host of the television show Sports Monday. Reach him at (225) 926-3256 or lee@sportsbatonrouge.com.

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