Stephan's been the Vikings' 'numbers guy' for 55 years

Dean Stephan has served as official scorekeeper for Huntington North High School boys' basketball since 1954. Stephan says his love for basketball, math and the fans is what keeps hime going.
Photo by Andre Laird.

Dean Stephan is a "numbers" guy and a sports enthusiast, specifically basketball.

For the past 55 years, Stephan has been the official scorekeeper for the Huntington North High School boys' varsity and junior varsity basketball games.

"I first had the chance to keep score after Dick ‘Doc' Goshorn, who was the scorekeeper, decided that he didn't want to travel to away games anymore," states Stephan. "I kept score for the teams' away games for the first two years and then for all games shortly after Doc was appointed B team coach."

Stephan's scorekeeping days began in the 1954-1955 season, when the school was still known as Huntington High School. From 1967-1970, the name was changed to Huntington County Community High School. It became Huntington North High School for the 1970-1971 season.

Stephan says the name isn't the only thing that has changed over the years.

"There have been a lot of changes in the rules since I started," he states. "There is now a three-point line, more timeouts to each team, changes in the way jump balls are awarded, just to name a few."

Stephan adds that the school's coaching staff has been tremendous.

"Huntington has been blessed with great coaches, assistant coaches, athletic directors and players throughout the years," he says. "I always look forward to going to a game."

In his 55 years, Stephan has kept score in the presence of 11 head coaches, including Lou Watson, Bob Straight, Marvin Tudor, Glen Heaton, Jack Gabor, Eric Foister and Joe Bradburn, the current varsity head coach.

"I also had the pleasure of working with great athletic directors like Joe Santa, who did a lot for Huntington North, and Mike Gasaway, who is also doing a good job," states Stephan.

In the over 3,200 games he's kept score for, he adds that he's seen quite a few players who have excelled in the sport and moved on to be ambassadors for Huntington North.

"There are some notable players that have passed through Huntington North during my time," he states. "From Kent Paul, Mike Weaver, Gary Paul and Neil Brown to Sean Kline and Chris Kramer.

"I have a deep-rooted love for the sport of basketball and math, Stephan adds. "I taught math at Lincoln for 10 years, when it was K-8; coached there for a while and was also principal for 28 years. It was extra special for me to keep score during the games when some of my former Lincoln players were on the high school team."

He also has two grandsons who played basketball at Huntington North.

"My wife Lois and I travel together for the away games," Stephan says. "We try to make an evening of it, a lot of times stopping for dinner in the town where the team is playing."

Stephan was recently awarded a lifetime pass to any North Central Conference sporting event for his contribution to the sport.

He received the award along with Don Cotton and Bob Straight. Cotton is a long-time announcer and successful track and cross country coach at Huntington North and Straight is a former basketball coach with a storied career, including 10 straight sectional titles.

Stephan adds that even though the crowds were bigger in the earlier days, he still loves the atmosphere.

"I love the atmosphere, the sound of the fans cheering and everything about the event," Stephan says. "It's been a joy to be able to do this for so long."