2016 inductees named
December 10, 2015 by Ron Hoffman
Former Minnesota Vikings linebacker Ben Leber headlines a group of 10 people selected for induction into the South Dakota Sports Hall of Fame Class of 2016. The group will be inducted on Saturday, April 9 at the Sioux Falls Convention Center.
Also chosen was Steve Heidenreich, the first South Dakotan to run a four-minute mile. Other athletes joining Leber and Heidenrich include Greg Hansen, Doug Schlepp and Jim Mitchell (basketball), Patricia Reisdorfer (running) and Joe Trudeau (football). In addition, the class will include Rapid City Stevens wrestling coach Tom Long, Northern State basketball coach/athletic director Bob Olson and referee/volunteer Rich Hanson.
Ticket information for the 2016 Hall of Fame Banquet will be released at a later date. With this class of inductees, the SD Sports Hall of Fame boasts membership of 276.
Leber was actually selected last year but was unable to attend the induction banquet. Leber lives in Edina, Minn.; Hansen, Hanson, Reisdorfer and Mitchell in Sioux Falls; Trudeau in Jefferson; Long in Centennial, Colo.; Schlepp in Tucson, Ariz.; Olson in Aberdeen; and Heidenreich in Breckenridge, Colo.
Below are bios of the inductees:
Ben Leber. A 1997 Vermillion High grad, Leber played 10 seasons as a linebacker in the NFL, mostly as a starter. The 6-foot-3, 244-pounder was a third-round draft pick of the San Diego Chargers in 2002 and was an immediate standout as he was named to the Pro Football Weekly and Football Digest All-Rookie teams, finishing the year with 50 tackles, five sacks and three forced fumbles. He had 80 and 60 tackles the next two seasons before injuries limited him to 22 tackles in 2005. As an unrestricted free agent, Leber signed with the Vikings in 2006. That season, he had 46 tackles, three sacks, three forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries, including one in the end zone against the Detroit Lions for the only TD of his career. The next season was even better with 67 tackles and five sacks. In 2008 he had 64 tackles and he had 46 in 2009 and 2010. He played briefly for the St. Louis Rams in 2011 before retiring. In his career, Leber had 496 tackles, 24 sacks, 12 forced fumbles and five interceptions. At Vermillion, he rushed for 1,404 yards as a junior and 1,350 as a senior. Following his standout prep career, he became a two-time All-Big 12 linebacker at Kansas State. A third team AP All-American as a senior, he finished his career with 216 tackles which ranked fifth all-time in program history.
Steve Heidenreich. A 1971 Watertown High and Indiana University graduate, Heidenreich broke the 4-minute barrier a number of times. The 5-foot-10, 130-pounder was a top candidate to make the 1976 Olympic team in the 1,500 meters before a near fatal accident in March, 1976, when he was hit by a car while running. His best mile time was 3:58.4 in 1975. He ran a 3:38.8 1,500 (equivalent to a 3:56.0 mile) while representing the United States at a meet in Prague, Czechoslovakia, in 1975. Heidenreich anchored a 4-mile relay to a world indoor record in 1975. The first Big Ten runner to run a 4-minute mile indoors (4:00 exactly in 1976), he was Big Ten mile champ and All-American in 1975 (finishing fourth in the outdoor mile in 4:02.24). He also was sixth in the mile at the NCAA outdoor meet in 1974. In cross country for IU in 1972, Heidenreich won six straight meets, setting course records in five. At Watertown High School, he set state records in the mile (4:11.2) and 2-mile relay (7:55.1). He finished second in the mile (4:11.8) at a national prep meet near Chicago on June 12, 1971.
Greg Hansen. A 1970 Hurley High and Dakota Wesleyan graduate, Hansen averaged a double-double for eight consecutive seasons – four at Hurley and four at DWU – and was all-conference all eight seasons. At Hurley, the two-time all-stater had 1,989 points and 1,663 rebounds with career highs of 62 points and 34 rebounds. As a freshman, Hansen averaged 13 points and 13 rebounds, upping those numbers to 24 points and 21 rebounds as a senior. Also a standout in football, Hansen was recruited by legendary Maryland coach Lefty Driesell but elected to stay in South Dakota and play for DWU. For the Tigers, the 6-foot-7 forward started all 92 games and scored in double figures 89 times for Coach Gordie Fosness. In his DWU career, he scored 2,146 points and had 1,047 rebounds. He had career averages of 23.3 points, 11.4 rebounds and 3.3 assists a game. A big man with a soft touch and good shooting range, Hansen twice led the Tigers to South Dakota Intercollegiate Conference titles. He still holds the DWU single-season free-throw record of 92 percent. A member of the DWU, SDIC and South Dakota High School Basketball halls of fame, Hansen served as sports editor of the Mitchell Daily Republic and the Sioux Falls Argus Leader.
Rich Hanson: A 1954 Aberdeen Central and 1958 Northern State graduate, Hansen has been officiating high school and college sports since 1959. He was a high school and college basketball referee from 1959-79 and a football referee from 1963-84. He officiated the first football game at the DakotaDome in 1979. A track and field official since 1975, Hansen has been a starter for countless high school and college meets while also serving as a volunteer at the Howard Wood Dakota Relays since 1964. He has been supervisor of officials for the Sioux Interstate Conference, the Greater Dakota Conference and the Metro Conference. A commissioner of the South Dakota-Iowa Conference from 1998-2000, Hansen has been a longtime member of the Sports & Rec Committee of the Sioux Empire Area Chamber of Commerce. He received the National Federation Officials Association National Distinguished Contributor Award in 1995 and the NFOA active Track and Field Official Award for S.D. in 1991. Named the B’nai B’rith Sioux Falls Sportsman of the Year in 1995, he has received the Dan Lennon Award (USD), the Milt and Clara Harvey Award (Augustana) and the Steve Withorne Memorial Award (officiating). He was named to the Sioux Falls Public Schools Appreciation Hall of Fame in 2007.
Joe Trudeau. A 1969 Jefferson High and USD graduate, Trudeau starred on one of the most famous prep football teams in state history. He started four years on a Jefferson team that went 35-1 with a 33-game win streak. As a junior, he scored 20 TDs and caught 28 passes for a team that outscored foes, 676-27. As senior he scored 13 TDs and caught 25 passes (for 560 yards) and blocked 10 punts. Jefferson beat Onida, 35-13, in a much-ballyhooed game for the mythical state title as a senior. As a senior in high school, Trudeau was all-state in football and basketball and placed second in both the low and high hurdles at state, helping the Blackhawks win the state Class B track title. As a junior, he was honorable mention all-state in football and won the high hurdles and was second in the low hurdles as Jefferson won the state track title. As a sophomore, he led Jefferson to a second place team finish by taking second in the high hurdles and third in the low hurdles. From his standout prep career, Trudeau moved on to USF, where he was a standout in football and track. A two-time all-North Central Conference tight end, Trudeau set the school record for receiving yards in a season (543 yards on 22 receptions) and set the record for longest TD reception (84 yards vs. Idaho State) as a junior. As a senior, he helped the Coyotes to the NCC title. In track, he placed second in the high hurdles in the NCC meet as a junior and third as a sophomore. He is a member of the USD Hall of Fame.
Jim Mitchell: The all-time leading scorer in South Dakota School for the Deaf basketball history, the 6-foot-1 Mitchell averaged 27.2 points a game in 1954 as a senior, including a 52-point game against Worthing. Mitchell, who set the national deaf scoring record of 27.2 ppg, never scored fewer than 18 points in a game that season. He was named U.S. deaf basketball player of the year in 1954 by “Silent Worker’’ and “The Frat’’ publications. Mitchell, nicknamed “Dead Shot,’’ averaged 25.7 points as a junior. He also was a standout in track and football. After high school, he excelled in basketball, softball, volleyball and bowling. He was an all-star seven times in basketball and three times in softball while competing for the Sioux Falls Deaf Club at the Midwest Athletic Association for the Deaf Tournament. Named MVP in basketball (1955) and volleyball, he was inducted into the MAAD Hall of Fame in 1970.
Tom Long: Long coached Rapid City high school wrestlers for 33 years – the first 13 at Rapid City High School and the last 20 at Rapid City Stevens. Perhaps best known for winning eight state titles during his tenure, he coached Olympian Randy Lewis to several national high school records. Lewis went on to win an Olympic gold medal in 1984. Long, who began his coaching career in 1956, was chosen national high school wrestling coach of the year in 1983. After retiring in 1989, he was named to the National High School Athletic Coaches Association's Hall of Fame in 2001.
Patricia Reisdorfer: A 1976 Adrian (Minn.) High graduate, Reisdorfer was the first woman inducted into the Augustana Athletic Hall of Fame (in 1990). She lettered in basketball, volleyball and track at Adrian. A walk-on, she won the first cross country meet she competed in at Augustana. In addition, she was Augustana’s first female All-American in cross country, finishing 14th at the Association of Intercollegiate Athletics for Women (a forerunner of the NCAA) national meet in 1979 in Tallahassee, Fla. In track she set school records at 1,500, 3,000, 5,000 and 10,000 meters in 1980. The 10,000 time of 34:44 – still the school record – was set in Eugene, Ore., at the national meet, in which Reisdorfer was 11th overall and the top finisher among Division II runners. That time bettered her previous best, an all-time state collegiate record of 35:37 that she set at the AIAW Region 6 meet in Des Moines, Iowa. After college, she ran 12 marathons (including the 1987 Boston Marathon) and ran in numerous 5K/10K races.
Doug Schlepp. A 1970 Java High graduate, Schlepp had a stellar career at the South Dakota School of Mines, finishing as South Dakota’s all-time leading men’s collegiate basketball scorer with 2,440 points. And, what made it special was the 5-foot-11 guard set that mark before the advent of the three-point shot. He led the 1973 Hardrockers to their first ever appearance in the NAIA national tournament. At Mines, Schlepp still holds 13 school records, including points in a game (44) and free-throw percentage in a game (14 of 14), season (197) and career (617). He also holds the single-game assist record (18) and the season steal record (134). In his final three seasons, Schlepp averaged 24.3, 26.5 and 27.3 points a game. He earned honorable mention NAIA All-American honors in 1973 and was a third-team All-American in 1974. At Java, he was all-state in basketball while placing second in the high jump at the state meet.
Bob Olson: An Aberdeen Central and Northern State graduate, Olson played a central role in helping NSU succeed in athletics for almost 40 years. He was a standout basketball player for the Wolves after a great career at Aberdeen Central. As a four-year player for the legendary Bob Wachs, Olson built a reputation as one of the Wolves' best defensive players. He and his teammates compiled a 75-38 four-year record. Early in his coaching career, he coached the NSU women's basketball team to a 44-10 record in two seasons. He was named the NSU men's coach in 1985. In his 14 seasons in that position, Olson’s teams were 305-129, won six conference titles and advanced to nine national tournaments, including two national championship games. Olson was named the national coach of the year once and the conference coach of year five times. He helped the school make the transition from NAIA to NCAA Division II. In 1999, Olson became the athletic director, serving NSU in that position for 13 years until he retired in 2012.
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