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Stan Steidel’s All ‘A’ legacy lives on and prospers

January 26, 2020 FieldsColumn

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Stan Steidel’s wife Louise, center, with daughters Jennifer Jones, left, and Melanie Pelle at Sunday’s All “A” Classic finals at EKU’s McBrayer Arena. (Photo by Mike Fields)

BY MIKE FIELDS (Jan. 26, 2020)

RICHMOND — Stan Steidel, the founding father of the All “A” Classic, passed away a few months ago, but his legacy is very much alive, and still providing athletic and educational opportunities for high school athletes across Kentucky.

The state-wide small-school basketball tournament celebrated its 30th anniversary this week, capped by the girls’ and boys’ finals in front of cheering crowds under the bright lights in EKU’s McBrayer Arena Sunday afternoon.

Stan Steidel would have loved it.

He was involved in high school sports in a myriad of ways for more than 50 years, in roles ranging from coach to athletic director to superintendent, but his signature accomplishment was the All “A”.

Stan Steidel

“This was his baby, this was his heart,” said Louise Steidel, Stan’s wife of 56 years.

Louise, along with daughters Jennifer Jones and Melanie Pelle, and several other family members, were recognized during tributes to Stan at halftime of Sunday’s championship games.

The All “A” began in the mid-1980s as a modest small-school event in Northern Kentucky. It blossomed into a state-wide event in 1990 when a 16-team boys’ tournament was held in UK’s Memorial Coliseum.

“Stan was excited how good it was that first year, but when it got bigger and bigger, like a snowball, it was a dream that came true for him,” said Louise, herself an educator who retired after teaching for 40 years.

Steidel’s dream from the beginning was for the All ‘A” to provide a platform for small-school athletes in all kinds of sports. He made that happen, of course. The All “A” now also offers state-wide competition in cheerleading, baseball golf, softball, soccer, and volleyball. (It even rewards aspiring artists.)

“It became inclusive for all kids who had different pathways and different loves of different sports,” Louise said.

But Steidel’s greatest passion was focused on generating college scholarships through the All “A” organization. That passion has produced more than $2 million in scholarships.

“That’s what made him the happiest,” Louise said.

When her husband died in a car accident last November, at age 78, Louise Steidel was confident the All “A” would continue to stay strong and prosper under the guidance of long-time board members Gary Munsie, Mike Reeves, David Cowden, and Kevin Sullivan, along with a host of dedicated regional directors.

“Stan was kind of like the root of the tree,” Louise said, “but all these other people became wonderful branches to make it a full, beautiful tree for these kids.”

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