Stegeman Coliseum now, Stegeman Coliseum before renovations
Stegeman Coliseum is named for Herman John Stegeman, former University of Georgia coach, dean of men and athletic director. He was born in 1842 in New Holland, Mich., to a family of Dutch descent – he even wore wooden shoes as young boy. He attended the University of Chicago where he was a star athlete.
Stegeman came to Athens in 1919 to establish a physical training program for ROTC cadets, and Chancellor David C. Barrow appointed him Professor of Physical Education for Men. He was made assistant football coach and head baseball coach, and later dean of men. Later named athletic director, Stegeman continued to coach basketball and track. In 1937, his last year as track coach, Stegeman led the team to a win in the Southern Conference championship.
Athletic historian Dan Magill says, “He started basketball in the South and founded the Southern Conference (now SEC). He also served on the national football rules committee.”
Stegeman was a favorite among Athenians and UGA alumni. He had three children, including twins John and Joanna. John became a physician and Joanna married a doctor. His youngest daughter Marion joined the Women Airforce Service Pilots and was one of the first female pilots in World War II.
The building on campus intended to house Navy pre-flight cadets during World War II was named for Stegeman. When that building was demolished for an extension of the Tate Student Center, the coliseum, which was being expanded and renovated, was named for him.
Stegeman passed away in 1939.