Former SFA professor reflects on ‘Jeopardy!’ host’s death: Trebek ‘was a true legend’

A ‘true legend’ is how a former Stephen F. Austin State Unversity professor and 12-game winner on ‘Jeopardy!’ described the show’s longtime host, Alex Trebek, upon learning of his death on Sunday.

Former SFA professor reflects on ‘Jeopardy!’ host’s death: Trebek ‘was a true legend’
Seth Wilson, former contestant on Jeopardy!, is pictured alongside the game show's longtime host, Alex Trebek. Wilson posted on Twitter Sunday following news of Trebek's death that he was "so grateful that I got to spend some time with him when I did." (Source: Jeopardy!)

(KTRE) - Many are mourning the loss of longtime ‘Jeopardy!’ host Alex Trebek, who died Sunday at the age of 80 after his battle with advanced pancreatic cancer. A former Stephen F. Austin State University adjunct professor, who was a contestant on ‘Jeopardy!’ is remembering the time he got to spend with Trebek.

This television icon was the host of ‘Jeopardy!’ for nearly 37 years. Who is Alex Trebek.

“He was funny and lively but a little bit stern when he hosted the game to keep things on track,” former SFA adjunct professor and ‘Jeopardy!’ contestant Seth Wilson said. “Very much like a professor whose class you really loved.”

In 2016, Wilson was a Ph.D. candidate and SFA adjunct professor who won $265,002 for his 12-game winning streak as a contestant of ‘Jeopardy!’

"My first episode I got off to a good start I was very lucky and at the commercial break, he looked up at me and said, ‘somebody came to play,’ recalled Wilson. “It was one of my favorite moments. And when I introduced him to my parents, he was very gracious, outgoing and charismatic.”

Wilson says he’s watched the show since kindergarten. He says meeting Trebek was surreal.

“Once you meet him it is immediately clear that he is a warm and friendly person,” Wilson said. “The kind of figure from a previous generation who’s very trusted and believed by almost everyone. Everyone felt like they had a connection to him. You can tell he really loved ‘Jeopardy!,’ which is why I think he kept doing it after he was diagnosed with cancer.”

“When I leave someone younger will be doing the show and it will carry on,” Trebek said years before his death.

“It is an incalculable loss,” Wilson said. “I am so grateful I got to be on the show and spend some time with him.”

Officials of Sony Television Studios say Trebek taped episodes last month and he will appear as host posthumously through Christmas.

In a statement Sunday, representatives of ‘Jeopardy!’ wrote the show will not announce plans for a new host at this time.

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