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

Burdell Coplan - Inducted 2000

Born Jan. 13, 1928 in Watertown. 1946 Watertown HS grad. 1952 USD grad.

Coplan was the football coach at Canton High School for 35 years (1955-89), compiling a 228-82-9 record. Seven times his teams were undefeated (1959, ’61, ’63, ’70, ’71, ’75, ’86) and five times the C-Hawks were ranked No. 1.  His 1986 team won the state Class 11A title. In the 24 years that Canton was in a conference, the C-Hawks were conference champs 15 times. During his years at Canton, he also coached basketball and track and was the athletic director.

At Watertown, Coplan lettered three years each in football, basketball and track.

While serving in the military, he played football for the U.S. Army. He played in the Rice Bowl game in Yokohama, Japan on New Year’s Day in 1947. 

At USD, he lettered two years in football, helping the Coyotes to the 1951 North Central Conference title. He was named as a defensive back to USD’s all-1950s team.

Coplan was named national coach of the year in 1990 and he was named to the National High School Coaches Hall of Fame in 1999. Other halls of fame that he is in are USD, Watertown High School, S.D. High School Coaches, S.D. Football Coaches and S.D. Athletic Directors. In 1995, the Canton athletic complex was named Coplan Field in his honor.


Bottom photo is Coplan (right) with fellow Hall of Famers Rich Greeno and Lolly Forseth.

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