Certainly, here are brief profiles for each member of the 1988 class of the SDWCA Hall of Fame:
Class of 1988
- Bill Buchholtz: Bill Buchholz is a former wrestler from Spearfish, South Dakota. He is known for his outstanding accomplishments in the sport of wrestling. During his high school career, he won four state championships, and was the first wrestler in South Dakota history to do so. He also won three national championships in Greco-Roman wrestling.
After high school, Buchholz attended the University of Nebraska, where he continued his wrestling career. He was a three-time All-American and won the NCAA championship in 1962. He went on to compete in the 1964 Olympics in Tokyo, Japan, where he finished fourth in the freestyle wrestling competition.
Buchholz was inducted into the South Dakota Sports Hall of Fame in 1978, and the National Wrestling Hall of Fame in 1998. He is widely regarded as one of the greatest wrestlers in South Dakota history.
- Roger Denker: South Dakota State University in 1956, Roger taught PE, and started the second
wrestling program in South Dakota at Spearfish High School. In 1961, Roger moved to Casper, Wyoming to teach history, and continued his coaching career. In 1963, he made the move to Warrensburg, Missouri, to be the head wrestling coach (1963-1981) and assistant football coach (1963-1972). During his career as a wrestling coach, he helped guide the team to six top 20 finishes at the national tournament, including 10 All-Americans and 163 national qualifiers.
3. Bert Dent: He is responsible for starting the Mobridge wrestling program in 1973.
4. Randy Lewis: Randy Lewis is a former Olympic wrestler who won a gold medal at the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles. He grew up in South Dakota and began wrestling at a young age. After his Olympic triumph, Lewis went on to become a highly successful wrestling coach, leading teams at Iowa State and Virginia Tech.
5. Clair Lilevjen: Born May 3, 1914 in Appleton, Minn. Appleton HS. U of Minnesota. A teacher-coach-administrator in South Dakota for 40 years, Lilevjen always had his students and athletes in mind. He was executive director of the South Dakota High School Activities Association from 1977 until he retired in 1979. Lilevjen first coached and taught at Belle Fourche for 18 years and was athletic director at Watertown for 12 years before joining the SDHSAA as an assistant executive secretary in 1969. He served in that capacity until becoming executive director in 1977. He did much to promote the sport of wrestling in South Dakota. While on the staff of the SDHSAA, he served on the National Football Rules Committee, and the National Federation of State High School Associations bestowed their Award of Service on him. He also received the Distinguished Service Award from the SDHSAA. Lilevjen was respected by his fellow coaches as evidenced by the fact that he served as president of both the Black Hills Conference and the Eastern South Dakota Conference as well as the South Dakota chapter of the American Association of Health, Physical Education and Recreation and the South Dakota Coaches’ Association. He is a member of the South Dakota athletic directors and coaches’ halls of fame. At Minnesota, Lilevjen was an end on some outstanding Gopher football teams in the mid-1930s.
6. Tom Long: Perhaps the state’s greatest prep wrestling coach, the 1944 Forestburg High and 1951 Dakota Wesleyan grad coached in Rapid City for 33 years – the first 13 at Central and the last 20 at Stevens. Long is perhaps best known for winning eight state titles (1963-65, ’75-76, ’80-81, ’88) during his tenure and coaching Randy Lewis to several national high school records. Lewis went on to win an Olympic gold medal in 1984. Long’s teams won almost 300 matches (246 duals, 20 invitationals and 23 postseason), and they also finished as state runners-up seven times. He retired in 1989 with more state titles than any wrestling coach in state history. He also coached AAU cultural exchange teams against West Germany in 1981 and Venezuela in 1982. Long started his coaching career in 1952 at Bridgeport, Neb., coaching football, basketball and track, before coming to Rapid City in 1956. Long was chosen national high school wrestling coach of the year in 1983. He was named to the National High School Athletic Coaches Association’s Hall of Fame in 2001. He was inducted into the Rapid City Sports Hall of Fame in 1981.
7. Jerry Opbroek: Jerry Opbroek was a highly successful wrestling coach who spent much of his career coaching at Yankton High School in South Dakota. He coached many successful wrestlers during his career, including multiple state champions and All-Americans. Opbroek was known for his ability to motivate his wrestlers and help them achieve their goals. SOUTH DAKOTA HIGH SCHOOL COACHES
1978 WRESTLING COACH OF THE YEAR, JERRY OPBROEK, MITCHELL Jerry Opbrock gradudted from Fairfax High School and USD. He received his Masters Degree from Kansas State in 1971. He coached at Sacred Heart, Minnesota and at Burke before becoming head wrestling coach at Mitchell. His teams have always been strong and last year the Mitchell team was no exception winning the Section 2A tourney and finishing one-half of a point away from the state title. His 1977 team was 13-1 in dual meets with an E.S.D. Conference Championship
8. Greg Schmidt: 3x High School State Champion for Redfield, Schmidt, a 1970 graduate of SDSU and native of Rockham, S.D., posted a 70-11-1 record during his wrestling career with the Jackrabbits and never lost to a North Central Conference opponent. Competing at a time when freshmen were not eligible for varsity competition, he won three straight NCC titles and earned All-America honors three straight years at the NCAA College Division Tournament, finishing as national runner-up on two occasions: in 1968 at 115 pounds and again in 1970 at 118 pounds. He also finished third in the 118-pound division in 1969.
Schmidt later became the first native South Dakota to place in the NCAA University Division national tournament with a fifth-place finish in 1970 to cap a 26-4 season.
After serving as head wrestling coach at SDSU for the 1974 and 1975 seasons, Schmidt entered private business.
9. Bob Sesso: Bob Sesso of Rapid City was proud to have refereed many state wrestling tournaments, and was elected into the SD Wrestling Hall of Fame in 1988 and the Rapid City Sports Hall of Fame in 2006.
10 Smoky Wallman: The patriarch of the most famous wrestling family in South Dakota, Wallman was the state’s first four-time high school wrestling champion and the state’s first NCAA Division I wrestling All-American. And he was an exceptional coach and boxer as well.At Miller High, he won state titles from 1961-64 (at 95-112-127-133 pounds), compiling a 65-1 record. He placed fourth at state as a seventh-grader and was runner-up as an eighth-grader.At Iowa State, he was a two-time All-American, placing fourth in 1967 and sixth in ’68 and going 94-11. He was a two-time Midlands champ and he also won the UCLA and SCI tourneys. One of his teammates was the legendary Dan Gable.Wallman wrestled two years with Athletes in Action, competing against colleges from across the nation, then was a graduate assistant under Vern Tate at Huron College in 1974. That year he was South Dakota’s first national USA freestyle place winner, finishing fourth.He began his high school coaching career at Webster. He coached the Bearcats four years – winning state Class B titles in 1975 and ’78 and finishing second and third the other two years. As coach at Freeman, Wallman?s Flyers were runners-up in 1986 and state champs in 1987 and ’88 (he was selected the ’88 S.D. Wrestling Coach of the Year). He also coached Marion-Freeman to the 1993 state title. In all, he coached 12 years at Freeman and four at Marion-Freeman. He coached sons Kirk, Troy and Cory – three of the most decorated wrestlers in state history (father and sons together have 18 state titles). He also coached two years at Harrisburg. In 22 years, he coached 34 individual state champions and seven wrestlers who received the Outstanding Wrestler Award at the state tourney.
11. Warren Williamson:In 1956 wrestling did not exist at the high school level in South Dakota and was in the developmental stage at SDSU. Williamson understood that wrestling must be offered at high schools in the state for the sport to achieve success at the collegiate level. He actively campaigned for school districts to add wrestling to their athletic programs, and in 1958 he organized and refereed the first state high school wrestling tourney consisting of four teams.SDSU finished in the top 10 of the NCAA college division eight times. Williamson had a 134-74-9 dual-meet record, including 35-35-2 against University Division (now Division I) teams. In North Central Conference competition, Williamson’s teams won four titles, were second four times and finished lower than third only once. He developed 24 All-Americans, including two national champions. His coaching career culminated with SDSU winning the NCC title and hosting the NCAA Division II tournament in 1973. Before the championship matches, he was recognized for his contributions in the development of the sport and was given the title of “Father of Wrestling” in South Dakota.
Class of 1989
- Dennis Koslowski a Doland High wrestler, Koslowski never made it to the state finals. That didn’t stop him from reaching the pinnacle in his sport, as he was inducted into the National Wrestling Hall of Fame in 2009.Koslowski was the first U.S. Greco-Roman wrestler to win two Olympic medals, winning a silver medal in 1992 in Barcelona, Spain, and a bronze in 1988 in Seoul, South Korea, both in the 220-pound weight class. He was the first U.S. Greco-Roman wrestler to medal at an Olympics that wasn’t marred by boycott. In 1992 in Barcelona, Koslowski lost in the finals in overtime to world champion Hector Millian of Cuba; he beat defending champion Andrzej Wronski of Poland in his opening match. In 1988 in Seoul, Koslowski was joined on the U.S. team by twin brother Duane, who placed eighth at heavyweight. After the ’88 Games, Dennis gave up wrestling but stayed close to the sport as the Greco-Roman coach of the U.S. national team in 1989-90. Believing he could beat most of the wrestlers he coached, he came out of retirement and made the 1992 team. He was an Olympic team alternate in 1984.Koslowski competed in the world championships five times. He lost in overtime in the finals in 1987; he was sixth in 1983 and ?85 and seventh in ’86 and ’91. He was a four-time World Cup silver medalist and he won seven USA Wrestling Greco-Roman national titles.At Minnesota-Morris, he was a three-time All-American and a two-time NCAA Division III national champion. He also was a three-time all-conference offensive lineman in football.After graduating from Morris in 1982, he stayed in Minnesota for chiropractic school and began wrestling Greco-Roman, a style in which he’d never before competed. He won his first USA Wrestling national title in 1983.At Doland, he placed third twice in the state Class B tournament.was an accomplished wrestler and coach. He was a two-time Olympic Greco-Roman wrestler, winning a silver medal at the 1988 Seoul Olympics and a bronze medal at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics. Koslowski also won five U.S. National Greco-Roman titles and four World Cup titles. After his wrestling career, he served as an assistant coach at the University of Minnesota.
2. Duane Koslowski: Koslowski was a two-sport athlete at the University of Minnesota-Morris participating in both football and wrestling. The native of Doland, S.D. was an all-conference performer in football for UMM in 1979 and 1980. In 1980, he earned All-District and All-American Honorable Mention honors in football as well. He also lived up to his billing in the sport of wrestling, winning the 1981 Division III National Championship his senior season. After his collegiate career, Koslowski gained national attention becoming a three-time United States Greco-Roman Wrestling Champion (1986, 1987 and 1988). His post-collegiate accolades did not end there, where he earned a fourth place finish in the Greco-Roman World Championships in 1986 and was a gold medallist in the Pan-American Games in 1987. Koslowski added to his legacy on the world’s largest wrestling stage earning a very respectable seventh for the United States Wrestling Team in the 1988 Olympics in Seoul, Korea.The name Koslowski in synonymous with Minnesota-Morris and NSIC wrestling as his twin brother Dennis, achieved national and world recognition becoming a two-time Olympic medallist capturing bronze and silver medals at the 1988 and 1992 Olympics. Dennis was inducted into the NSIC Hall of Fame as a member of the class of 2000. Duane is married with four children, works at ING insurance and banking company, and resides in Blaine, Minn.
3. Bill Scherr was an accomplished wrestler who won a silver medal in freestyle wrestling at the 1988 Seoul Olympics. He was also a two-time U.S. National freestyle champion and won the gold medal at the 1987 Pan American Games. After his competitive career, he became a coach, serving as an assistant coach at the University of Illinois and the U.S. Olympic Training Center. Born July 27, 1961 in Eureka. 1980 Mobridge HS grad. 1984 Nebraska grad. One of the few Olympic medalists that South Dakota has produced, Scherr earned a bronze medal at 220 pounds in freestyle wrestling at the 1988 Summer Olympics in Seoul, South Korea. He was the world champion at 198 pounds in 1985 but moved up to 220 in order to give his twin brother, Jim, a shot at making the Olympic team at 198 (Jim finished fifth at the 1988 Olympics at 198). Scherr was second at the 1986 and ’89 world championships and third in ’87. He was the World Cup champ in 1989 and he was second in 1985, ’86 and ’88. He was the 1987 Pan Am Games champ, and he was first at the U.S. Olympic Festival in 1985 and ’87. He won the AAU national title in 1982. At the 1990 Goodwill Games, he unleashed a winning two-point throw as time expired to beat Andrei Golovko 2-1 for the gold medal and give the United States a win over the Soviet Union. Scherr was U.S. senior freestyle champion five times (1987-90 and ’92), U.S. junior freestyle champ once (1980) and U.S. senior Greco-Roman champ once (1982). He was runner-up at U.S. Senior Nationals in 1982, ’84 and ’85. He was named USA Wrestling athlete of the year in 1982. In 1998 he was named a Distinguished Member of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame. At Nebraska, he had a 133-18 record and was a three-time All-American, winning the 190-pound title as a senior in 1984 (he was third as a junior and fourth as a sophomore). At Mobridge, he was 100-12 and was undefeated as a junior and senior. He led Mobridge to its first state team title in 1980. He also competed in football, track and rodeo.
4. Jim Scherr was a successful wrestler and administrator. He was a three-time NCAA Division I All-American at the University of Nebraska and competed in the 1988 Seoul Olympics, finishing fifth in freestyle wrestling. After his competitive career, he served as the executive director of USA Wrestling and the U.S. Olympic Committee. Scherr also played a key role in bringing the 2002 Winter Olympics to Salt Lake City. Born July 27, 1961 in Eureka. 1980 Mobridge HS grad. 1984 Nebraska grad. On and off the mat, Scherr has been a champion of the sport of wrestling. He competed in freestyle wrestling at the 1988 Summer Olympics in Seoul, South Korea, finishing fifth at 198 pounds (twin brother Bill won bronze at 220). He is the first Olympian ever to lead the U.S. Olympic Committee as its chief executive officer. He gained the title in 2005 after serving the organization and leading it through a critical period of reform and reconstruction beginning in 2003. He joined the USOC after being executive director of USA Wrestling from 1990-2000. The 1994 USA Wrestling Man of the Year, Scherr earned the National Wrestling Hall of Fame Order of Merit in 1997 and was named a Distinguished Member of the Hall of Fame in 2003. He has been appointed to numerous national and international committees. Scherr was a silver medalist at the world championships in 1987 and ’89, World Cup champion in 1986 and ’89 and second in ’90, Pan Am champion in 1989 and U.S. Nationals champion in ’86, ’87 and ’89. He was named the outstanding wrestler at the 1989 U.S. Nationals. At Nebraska, he was national champion at 174 pounds in 1984 and fifth in ’83. At Mobridge, he was 86-20-2 and was a state champ at 167 pounds in 1980, helping the Tigers to their first state team title.
Class of 1990
- Marv Sherrill – The most successful high school wrestling coach in state history, Sherrill guided Watertown for 35 years before retiring after the 2003 season. Sherrill’s Arrows earned eight state Class A titles and had nine runner-up finishes. No coach has won more state wrestling titles. Watertown also won 14 Eastern South Dakota Conference championships and was region champ 18 times. Including one season at Brookings, Sherrill’s career mark of 504-151-13 in duals is a state best. The 1960 Huron High and 1965 South Dakota State grad has been national high school coach of the year three times: by the National High School Athletic Coaches Association once each in girls track (1995) and wrestling (1997) and by the National Wrestling Coaches Association once (1999). He was inducted into the NHSACA’s Hall of Fame in 1998. He is also a member of the halls of fame of the South Dakota High School Coaches Association and South Dakota Wrestling Coaches Association. Sherrill was one of the coaches on the first international wrestling exchange team to Mexico and one of two coaches chosen to coach the first North team in the South Dakota summer all-star games. He coached Watertown’s girls track team for 33 seasons. Under Sherrill, the Arrows won the 1978 state title, were runners-up eight times and also won eight ESD championships and 12 region titles. He coached the freshman football team for 35 years and never had a losing season. He was president of the South Dakota High School Coaches Association for the 1984-85 term and was on the executive board for 34 years. Sherrill grew up in Cody, Wyo., but moved to Huron at Christmas of his senior year. He was the first Tiger to win a state wrestling title. At SDSU, he wrestled for Warren Williamson, winning a North Central Conference championship at 137 pounds his senior year. He coached two years at Brookings, one as the head coach, before moving to Watertown.
2. Rich Strande – Rich’s wrestling teams won State Championship titles – Redfield in 1977, and Brookings in 1989, which produced three individual state champions. Rich was honored twice as Wrestling Coach of the Year (1977 & 1989). Strande has coached at Redfield since 1959, including junior
high basketball, cross country, and the inauguration of a junior high wrestling program. He is a native of Volga and a graduate of South Dakota State.
Class of 1991
- Vern Tate: In his three decades at Huron College, Vern Tate built a successful wrestling program year after year. Among his accomplishments: 12 SDIC (South Dakota Intercollegiate Conference) team titles, seven national Top 20 finishes, three individual NAIA (National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics) national champions, and 31 All-American honorees.What’s more, Tate was voted Wrestling Coach of the Year for District 12 (1971, ’73, ’75); South Dakota Intercollegiate Conference Coach of the Year (1980-1986); South Dakota Sportswriters Coach of the Year (1973), and NAIA Wrestling Coach of the Year (1973 and 1980). He was inducted into the National (NAIA) Wrestling Hall of Fame in 1999, the S.D.I.C. Hall of Fame in 1991 and into the Huron College Athletic Hall of Fame in 1990. He received recognition for his 100th dual win in 1977, and for the 200th dual win in 1991. Vern was also voted Huron University Teacher of the Year (1990, 1993, 1994).
2. Bill Hughes: In 1965, Bill joined the staff at Black Hills State University where he was an instructor and coach. During his years at BHSU, he coached wrestling, golf, football and baseball. He had four South Dakota Intercollegiate Championships and coached 39 SDIC wrestling champions. He was a Rookie Coach of the Year nominee and won the NAIA District 12 Coach of the Year in 1970. While coaching football, he was the defensive coordinator and assistant coach, and his golf team won the District 12 Championship in 1982. He has been inducted into the South Dakota Wrestling Coaches Hall of Fame, the NAIA Wrestling Hall of Fame, the Spearfish High School Hall of Fame, the Black Hills State University Yellow Jacket Hall of Fame, and he was recently awarded the Black Hills State Special Service Award this past fall.
Class of 1992-1994 nothing not sure what happened during these years… If someone could fill in this history it would be greatly appreciated…
Class of 1995
- Paul Kendle: attended Huron College, South Dakota, where he was a two-time South Dakota Intercollegiate Conference wrestling champion and won fourth place in the national NAIA Wrestling Tournament.He began as a high school wrestling coach at Pawhuska, Oklahoma taking a new program to a third-place state tournament finish in four years and was also named that year’s Class 2A Wrestling Coach of the Year. His four-year overall record was 29-13. He then attended the University of South Dakota where he earned a Master of Education and served as a graduate assistant with the wrestling program.In 1973 he was hired as the Augustana College head wrestling coach in Sioux Falls, SD. Augustana College was 5-13 the previous year and had placed last in the NCC the past six years. His 1976 team had four wrestling All-Americans and placed sixth as a team. In his fourth year the team was National Runners-up, had six wrestling All-Americans and Kendle was voted NCAA Division II National Wrestling Coach of the Year. His overall record at Augie was 150 wins and 51 losses with 55 All-Americans, 7 National Champions and many Academic All Americans, and NCAA Post Graduate Scholarship winners.In 2000, Huron University, SD, was dropping their wrestling program. They agreed to keep the program if Kendle would coach them. Paul took over a program that had not won a dual meet in three years and most of the wrestlers had already quit school. He recruited a team over the summer, commuted 250 miles a day and compiled a 6-3 dual meet record and the team placed 14th in the NAIA National tournament with two first-team NAJA Academic All-Americans.Athletic honors include: Huron College Athletic Hall of Fame, SDlC Hall of Fame, South Dakota Wrestling Hall of Fame, NCAA II National Wrestling Hall of Fame, South Dakota Friend of Wrestling Award, Augustana College Sam Milanovich Award and Augustana College Athletic Hall of Fame.While coaching at Augustana, Paul served two terms as President of the NCAA II Wrestling Coaches Association. He also was elected to serve on both the NCAA Rules Committee and the National Wrestling Coaches Association Executive Committee at the same time.For nine months at the end of 1989 and halfway through 1990, Kendle took a leave from his job turning out All-Americans at Augustana College to live on du Pont’s Foxcatcher estate and train men and boys who were or would become among the world’s elite wrestlers.
- Jan Sanderson: as a three-time state champion high school wrestler, he earned a full-ride scholarship to University of Iowa where he wrestled for famed coach Dan Gable. He was a team co-captain and a two time all-American and two-time Big Ten individual champion.
Out of college in 1975, he coached wrestling at Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and taught special education.
Class of 1998
- Dale McElhany: Watertown coach winning the state championship in 1968. He founded and directed SDAAU wrestling from 1968 to 1972, nurturing the program to over 7,200 participants
- Ray Wellman: Sioux Falls Washington Coach
- South Dakota State University
- Position: 167 Weight Class
- Bernie Stocking: He graduated from Britton High School in 1947 and earned his Bachelor of Science Degree in 1951 and his Master Degree in 1959 from Northern State Teachers College in Aberdeen, SD. Following a four year stint in the US Navy from 1951 to 1955, Bernie began his coaching and teaching years in Miller, SD from 1955 to 1957. He moved to Centerville, SD from 1957 to 1960, coaching all three sports Bernie took on Assistant Director of Boys Sports for SDHSAA in Pierre, SD. He worked tirelessly to improve referee training.
- Rick Jensen: RICK JENSEN – Class of 1974 Watertown HS
4 Time ESD Wrestling Champion, 4 Time Section Wrestling Champion, 4 Time State Wrestling Champion, Outstanding Wrestler at State Tournament in 1974, High School All-American Wrestler in 1974, 93-1-0 career WHS wrestling record Wrestled in college at SDSU, North Central Conference Champion in 1976, 1977, and 1978, NCAA National Champion in 1976, Outstanding Wrestler of National Meet in 1976, Division II All-American in 1976, 1977, and 1978. Competing from 1975-79, Jensen ended his career as the winningest wrestler in Jackrabbit history with a 128-24 record, and his win total still ranks third.Jensen also was the first SDSU wrestler to win 40 matches in a season, compiling a 40-7 record during the 1975-76 season en route to winning the NCAA Division II national title at 126 pounds. He added a 39-6 record during the 1976-77 season.Jensen again earned All-America honors in 1977 and 1979 with runner-up finishes at 134 and 142 pounds, respectively. He also had the opportunity to wrestle at the Division I National Championships in 1976, 1977 and 1979.In addition, Jensen was the first SDSU wrestler to win four North Central Conference titles, opening his collegiate career by winning the 126-pound title in 1975.
- Roger Wiltz: coached wrestling and/or football in Willow Lake, Parkston, and Burke. His career culminated as a high school principal in Wagner and retirement was followed by time in Tripp as a guidance counselor and teacher.
- Tom Studelska: Tom Studelska who started the wrestling program in Scotland before taking the Wagner coaching job in 1971 was a wrestling coach for 35 years.