The South Dakota Sports Hall of Fame is dedicated to the preservation, documentation and display of South Dakota's sports history.
Navigation: Home > Athletes > Jack Theeler

Jack Theeler



A 1963 Sisseton grad, Theeler was one of the University of South Dakota’s all-time great basketball players.

The 6-foot-4 forward was just the sixth player all-time to earn all-North Central Conference honors during three consecutive seasons (1966-68). He was an honorable mention All-American as a junior and senior. Theeler, who transferred to USD from the University of Minnesota, led the Coyotes in scoring and rebounding all three seasons.

As a sophomore, Theeler and the Coyotes lost to fabled Texas Western (“Glory Road”), which started five black players and beat all-white Kentucky in the national title game. That season he was named the MVP in the very first NCC holiday tournament at the Sioux Falls Arena.

He held the record for most points in a season with 608 during the 1966-67 season. His average of 26.4 per game is still a school record. That season he set the school single-game record twice, with an NCC-record 48 points (22 of 23 free throws) against SDSU, then 49 at Northern Iowa (20 field goals). He averaged 29.1 in league play but lost the NCC scoring title to North Dakota’s Phil Jackson, a future NBA player and coach.

Theeler had three games over 40 points including 41 at Creighton. In his career, he scored a school-record 1,573 points (21.5 per game). Today, with freshman eligibility and the 3-point shot, his numbers would have been much bigger.

Upon graduation, he held 12 school records, including career rebounds (720/9.86 per game) and two conference marks. He still holds Coyote single-game records for points (49), free throws (22) and field goals (20).

In high school, Theeler was first-team all-state and first-team all-tournament as a junior and senior. He starred on the 1963 unbeaten Class A champion Sisseton team. That team, coached by his father, Jack Theeler Sr., beat SF Washington in the semifinals and Brookings (58-42) in the finals. He also starred on the 1962 team that went 23-2 and finished third at state, falling to Washington in overtime in the semifinals. That game was ranked the fourth greatest game in state history by the Argus Leader.

He was the MVP of the state amateur basketball tourney in 1973. He was inducted into the USD Hall of Fame in 1982 and the South Dakota High School Basketball Hall of Fame in 2012.




























« Back to Athletes