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Harold Thune



A Murdo High and University of Minnesota grad, Thune was one of the state’s greatest basketball players in the 1930s.

 He led Murdo to the 1937 state Class B tournament finals, where he was named captain of the all-tourney team. He was the top scorer in the tourney with 35 points.

After one year at Hibbing (Minn.) Junior College, where he was all-conference and led the Cardinals to the conference title, he went to Minnesota. The 5-foot-11 Thune was a key reserve and part-time starter as a sophomore and a starting guard as a junior and senior. The Gophers were 12-8, 11-9 and 15-6 overall in his three seasons and finished seventh, third and fifth in the Big Ten. As a junior, he was the team MVP despite being the fifth-leading scorer on the team – a testament to his all-around abilities, especially his defense and passing.

He had one of his top scoring games on his 21st birthday, Dec. 28, 1940, scoring 12 points against New York University at Madison Square Garden in New York City.

A story in the Jan. 11, 1941, Argus Leader said, after Thune scored 11 points to lead the Gophers past Wisconsin 44-26: “Despite his small stature he has proved effective defensively in the rough-and-tough Big Ten basketball style.”

After earning the Distinguished Flying Cross as a Navy fighter pilot, Thune returned to Murdo to help in his dad’s hardware store. In 1963, he began a 20-year career in teaching and coaching at Murdo. He was an assistant football coach and boys basketball coach from 1963-69 and went on to serve as the girls basketball coach and athletic director.

He was honored  in 1964 as one of 10 outstanding athletes in western South Dakota over the past 50 years. He also was honored  in the 1984 state “B” tourney program as the outstanding player of the 1930s “B” tourneys. He was a charter member of the South Dakota High School Basketball Hall of Fame.


































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