Longtime Ashland coach Humann dies at 66

Longtime basketball coach Steve Humann passed away on Saturday afternoon, leaving behind a legacy as a patriarch of Ashland girls AAU programs.

Humann, who was 66, suffered a heart attack three weeks ago and was taken to Oregon Health & Science University in Portland, former player Jamie Roupp said Saturday.

Humann coached dozens of grade-school tournament teams during his extensive career, which also included head coaching jobs at the high school and collegiate level.

He is survived by his wife, Joyce Humann, and three daughters: Meagan, Nikki and Katie. Humann was a grandfather.

For much of his career, Humann coached from a motorized wheelchair and used a headset that worked in unison with a cordless speaker to resonate his voice during games.

He discovered that he had a tumor at the base of his brain and had surgery in 1982. The operation left him wheelchair-bound and with full use of only his left arm among his limbs. He had to learn to talk all over again.

The Castro Valley, Calif., native began his coaching career as an assistant at San Francisco State and Cal Poly-San Luis Obispo, the colleges where he earned his undergraduate and master's degrees, respectively.

He spent six years as an assistant at Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y., before taking the Southern Oregon State College men's position beginning in 1980.

Humann coached the Ashland High girls program for two seasons starting in 2002. He led the Grizzlies to the Class 4A state tournament in his first season.

Emily Hesse, current head coach of the Ashland High girls basketball team, played youth basketball in Central Point but said Humann made an impact on her and many others.

"Whatever he said I took with great honor," Hesse said. "He was always a coach, no matter what team you were on. He wanted you to get better. He didn't care what jersey you were wearing, he just wanted all girls to be successful. Every girl wanted to be on his team.

"He honestly ran my AAU program for me while I was coaching. Up to last year, he was super involved and doing a lot of things. He would call me and tell me that a girl was coming up from the eighth grade. He was just super supportive."

Roupp was coached by Humann in grade school and went on to star at Ashland High and Southern Oregon University. The nursing student at OHSU, who visited Humann on Saturday, said he instilled her and many other girls with confidence that boosted them beyond the hardwood.

"I have already heard form numerous girls that he coached," Roupp said, "and we all feel like he changed our lives in so many ways. I feel so lucky that I was able to see him."

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