Steve M. Hokuf, 89, BJC athletic coach

July 08, 2000|By Jacques Kelly | Jacques Kelly,SUN STAFF

Steve M. Hokuf, former athletics director at Baltimore Junior College, died July 1 of a stroke at his Broadmead Retirement Community home. He was 89 and had earlier lived in Timonium.

Director of athletics, and football, basketball and golf coach at the school that is now Baltimore City Community College, he retired in 1978.

"He showed us how to build championship programs," said Elliott Oppenheim, a health and physical education teacher at BCCC, and the school's former athletic director. "He made BJC into a model community college for athletics. He treated the school as if it had a four-year sports program."

In 1958, Mr. Hokuf arrived at what was then a two-year college located on City College's third floor. The school soon moved to its Liberty Heights Avenue campus, and by the late 1960s, he fielded 14 different teams.

"He was a hard worker, too," Mr. Oppenheim said. "He was there all the time. His work ethic was fantastic. He led by example. He didn't think small, nor did he act small. When the teams traveled, they had their own railroad coach."

Before his coaching days, Mr. Hokuf played professional football. During the 1933, 1934 and 1935 seasons, he was a defensive lineman for the Boston Redskins, the football franchise that later became the Washington Redskins.

During World War II, he was a Navy physical education instructor aboard the aircraft carrier Belleau Wood. He also worked with planes taking off from the carrier.

From 1947 to 1949, he coached for Branch Rickey's Brooklyn Dodgers football team, which played at Ebbets Field. He then coached at Columbia University and was named head football coach at Lafayette College in Easton, Pa., in 1952. He served there for six years as coach and dean of students.

Born in Wilbur, Neb., Mr. Hokuf was a graduate of the University of Nebraska, where he received a bachelor of science degree in education. He took his master's degree from the University of Wyoming and earned a doctorate in education from Columbia University.

He was inducted into the Nebraska Football Hall of Fame and the Nebraska Basketball Hall of Fame. He was a past president of the Baltimore chapter of the National Football Hall of Fame. The Omaha, Neb., World Herald included him on its millennium football team of the century in late 1999.

He was a member of Boumi Temple and formerly belonged to the National Junior College Athletic Association.

He was an elder of Towson Presbyterian Church.

In 1936, he married Geneva M. Grant, who survives him.

A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. today at the Broadmead Community auditorium, 13801 York Road.

In addition to his wife, he is survived by a daughter, Stephanie Pratt of Wappingers Falls, N.Y.; a brother, Victor Hokuf of Crete, Neb.; two sisters, Irma Bryan and Alyce Collett, both of Crete, Neb.; and three granddaughters.

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