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Mark Ekeland



The winningest baseball coach in South Dakota State history, the Rapid City Central and Augustana grad had a 561-345-2 record in 20 seasons.

Ekeland’s Jackrabbits won five North Central Conference titles and they won 11 NCC Southern Division titles in 14 seasons of divisional play, including 10 straight from 1985-94. Poor health forced him to retire from coaching.

SDSU qualified for the NCAA Division II playoffs six times, but nothing could top his very first season in 1984. That season, SDSU went 27-13, finished second in the Southern Division, won the NCC playoffs in three straight games, then hosted and won the Midwest Regional to earn the Jackrabbits a trip to California for the Division II championship tournament -  the only time in school history that SDSU ever went to the World Series.

That 1984 season was the first time an SDSU team had 20 or more wins. That started a string of 19 consecutive seasons with 20 or more wins, including 39 wins each in 1993 and ’94. The 1994 team set a record for best winning percentage, going 39-10-1. The 1986 team was unbeaten in NCC play (13-0), while the 1989 and 1994 teams each went 11-1 in the NCC. Ekeland was named NCC coach of the year five times (1984-92-93-94-95).

Counting five seasons as coach at Jamestown College (1979-83), Ekeland was 613-432-2. At Jamestown, he guided the Jimmies to the 1979 North Dakota Collegiate Athletic Conference title. He also assisted in football (five years) and men’s basketball (three) and was head women’s basketball coach (two).

At Rapid City, Ekeland was a member of the state Class A champion basketball team  in 1969 and the state champion Legion baseball team in 1970. At Augustana, Ekeland lettered in football and baseball – he was an honorable mention all-conference center fielder  in 1972. After graduating in 1973, he coached high school football and basketball in Columbus, Neb.

He was named Augustana Alumni Coach of the Year in 1992 and South Dakota Men’s College Coach of the Year in 1994 and was inducted into the Rapid City Sports Hall of Fame in 1995.


























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