TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (WIAT) — At Coleman Coliseum Wednesday night, the big story wasn’t the Alabama basketball team taking on Mississippi State, but the home game return of broadcaster Chris Stewart.

Stewart, who has spent nearly 20 years doing play-by-play commentary for different Crimson Tide sports, has been through a year’s worth of health issues that nearly killed him, starting with a stroke in 2018 which led to bypass heart surgery in August. As a result of his health issues, Stewart was mostly absent from broadcasting duties this past year.

It was clear this was a special day for Stewart. As he walked through Coleman Coliseum, Stewart was frequently stopped by Tide fans, members of the basketball program and people who worked in the building who wanted to give him a hug or shake his hand.

The day after Thanksgiving, Stewart returned home after spending 13 weeks in the hospital. Now, he’s ready to get back to doing what he loves most.

Stewart’s first game back was when the Tide played against Florida last Saturday and, despite the loss, he said he was happy to have his headset on once again.

“It was more of a case of being able to call the game again, being able to be around it,” Stewart said. “It was very special for me just to be able to know that I could do it again.”

Stewart said the support from friends, family and even complete strangers helped get him through the tough days in the hospital.

He was honored during the first media time out during the game.