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Mike Durfee



For someone who had never seen a wrestling match before he got to college, the 1963 Highmore grad was a quick learner in the sport. While at Southern State, he was a three-time South Dakota Intercollegiate Conference heavyweight champion. And in nine years as head wrestling coach at his alma mater, then called USD-Springfield, Durfee's teams won more than 80 percent of their duals. His 1974 team went 12-0 in duals, and his 1976 team won the SDIC title.

Durfee was not even a full-time coach, as he spent most of his time as a diesel instructor at the school. He had no full-ride scholarships to offer, so perhaps his greatest asset as a coach was that he put together good teams every year from relatively unknown high school boys and made winning men out of them.

Durfee also officiated football and wrestling. He was a state wrestling tourney official for six years.

In high school, he competed in football, basketball and track (Highmore had no wrestling program). He was a two-time all-state football player.

Besides being a wrestling standout at Southern State, Durfee was a three-time all-SDIC fullback for the Pointers. The 5-foot-10, 210-pounder was twice named NAIA all-District 12, and he was named an NAIA All-American his senior year. He set school records for touchdowns in a game (5), season (16) and career (30). He drew interest froom NFL teams but chose a teaching/coaching career at USD-Springfield.

He is a member of the SDIC, Southern State and South Dakota Wrestling halls of fame. He was named the South Dakota College Coach of the Year for 1976. Durfee's love of sports lives on as a scholarship is awarded in his memory every year at the state "B" wrestling tournament.












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