Football, Track and Cross Country Coach and Athletics Director, 1952-82
Inducted March 5, 1988
Aldo Sebben has cast a long shadow across the face of SMSU athletics with his close involvement in all phases of the SMSU program and related activities over some three decades. His service to the University as a coach and administrator made him a respected figure in both regional and national circles and brought SMSU acclaim as a leader among the schools with which it associated athletically. A native of Gary, Indiana, and a World War II veteran, Sebben graduated from Illinois State in 1947, earned his master’s degree at Florida State in 1950 and came to SMSU in 1952 as an assistant football coach. He took over as head mentor of the Bears at the start of the 1956 season and guided SMSU cross country fortunes from the time that sport was started in 1958 until he stepped aside from his coaching duties in 1972. Sebben took over as SMSU director of athletics in 1955 and his tenure is the longest of any of the nine men who have served in that post. Sebben’s years as AD span the period from the time SMSU left the ranks of NAIA schools when the NCAA added a College Division in 1957, through the Bears’ Division II days, and into the transition to Division I status beginning in 1980. He was a leader and innovator within the Missouri Intercollegiate Athletic Association in which SMSU was a dominant school for many years. Sebben guided the SMSU program for half the school’s 56-year membership in that conference. Sebben brought SMSU into the Mid-Continent Conference in 1980 and was involved in the formation of the Association of Mid-Continent Universities in 1982. He brought the men’s athletic program from six sports to its present size of 11 with the addition of cross country in 1958, wrestling and baseball in 1964, swimming in 1966 and soccer in 1981. SMSU won the MIAA all-sports championship six times in the Bears’ last 12 years in that league and claimed a total 48 MIAA championships over Sebben’s 26 years of affiliation with that conference. While Sebben was AD, SMSU teams achieved regional and national prominence, with 13 team finishes among the nation’s top 10 in various sports in Division II competition. SMSU hosted both regional and national competition in cross country, basketball, baseball and golf plus numerous MIAA and high school conference and invitational meets. From a facility standpoint, Sebben was involved in the construction of Hammons Student Center and Forsythe Athletic Center as well as numerous renovations to Briggs Stadium. His many other activities included work with the “S” Club and later the SMSU Letterman Alumni Association, the SMSU Athletic Dormitory and the formation of the SMSU Athletic Hall of Fame. He was active on many NCAA boards and committees, and, served on the Board of Directors of the National Association of College Directors of Athletics as well as the prestigious NCAA.