The South Dakota Sports Hall of Fame is dedicated to the preservation, documentation and display of South Dakota's sports history.

LaVerne "Blondie" Saunders



Born March 21, 1903, at Stratford, SD. Attended school at Stratford, Groton and Aberdeen (Central). 1924 USD grad. 1928 Army grad. A four-year regular in football at USD (1920-23) and a two-time all-conference player, Saunders then went on to West Point, where he started four years at Army as a 190-pound tackle. He was All-America his senior year at Army. In 1924, he played in the 13-7 loss to Notre Dame, in which Grantland Rice wrote his famous lead dubbing the Notre Dame backfield the 'Four Horsemen.' In 1926, he played in a 21-21 tie with Navy before 120,000 fans in a game that dedicated Chicago's new Soldier Field. From 1931-39 he was an assistant coach at Army. His athletic record pales in comparison with his military achievements, which saw him rise to brigadier general and receive most of the highest honors his country awards, including the Navy Cross, a decoration no Army man had ever received.




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