Jack “Junior” Stephens, a former University of Notre Dame men’s basketball All-American and captain and former president of the Notre Dame Monogram Club, died Wednesday at Methodist Medical Center in Peoria, Ill. He was 78.
Stephens earned four monograms for the Irish in basketball and captained the 1954-55 squad in his senior campaign.
A 6-3, 195-pound guard from Chicago, Ill. (Mt. Carmel High School), he finished his Notre Dame career with 1,314 points – averaging 5.2 as a freshman, 13.7 as a sophomore, 16.8 as a junior -- and 20.9 in that 1954-55 senior season when he led the squad in scoring.
When he graduated in 1955 he had scored more points than any men’s basketball player in Irish history.
He still ranks 10th on the Notre Dame career list for free throws made with 426 (and fifth in free throws attempted at 686). His 191 free throws made from 1954-55 rank as the sixth-best single-season total in Irish records.
He tied the Irish single-game scoring record with 35 points against Marquette in his final career game for Notre Dame.
Stephens played on Irish teams that finished 19-5 and 22-3 and qualified for the NCAA Championships his sophomore and junior years, respectively. In 1953 he was named to the NCAA All-Mideast Regional team.
As a senior in 1954-55, Stephens earned first-team All-America notice on the Helms Athletic Foundation 10-man first team. He was a second-team selection according to the National Association of Basketball Coaches, Converse Yearbook and Collier’s and a third-team pick by United Press.
Stephens also played one season of football with the Irish as a halfback in 1952, playing on the Irish kickoff squad. He played one season with the NBA St. Louis Hawks in 1955-56.
Born Jack Francis Stephens on May 18, 1933, he served as president of the Notre Dame Monogram Club in 1993-94.
Funeral arrangements are pending.