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

Colin Kapitan - Inducted 2011

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One of South Dakota’s most recognizable referees, “Kappy” has been involved in officiating for more than 50 years.

The lifelong Yankton resident got his first refereeing job as a 17-year-old USD freshman on Nov. 22, 1958 (Elk Point vs. Wakonda basketball). He worked his first state “B’’ tournament in 1965 at age 24. He officiated 25 state basketball tourneys and three state football finals. He refereed college football and basketball as well at the NAIA and NCAA Division II level for 34 years – including 30 years of each in the North Central Conference. He retired as an active official after the 2000 football season.

Kapitan was supervisor of officials for the North Central Conference, the South Dakota Intercollegiate Conference and the Eastern South Dakota Conference. He  now is supervisor of basketball officials for the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference and the Great Plains Athletic Conference.

Despite being an outstanding referee, perhaps Kapitan’s most valuable work has been as a mentor to thousands of young officials. Kappy was a pioneer in the area of officials education with the early promotion of official training camps. He continues to teach young officials today at camps on rules and officiating mechanics.

Kapitan’s accolades include the 2008 Larry Lady Officiating Award by the NAIA, 2008 NCC Legacy Award, ESD Conference award of merit (2010) after retiring as the ESD’s first supervisor of officials (20 years), National Federation Sports Hall of Fame (2001), National Federation Interscholastic Officials Association’s Sports Official of the Year (1999), South Dakota High School Distinguished Service Award (1997) and the South Dakota Coaches Association Official of the Year Award (1992).

He worked part time for the Yankton Press & Dakotan’s sports department as a youth and was the newspaper’s sports editor for several years in the 1960s, then wrote a weekly column for the Missouri Valley Observer for about a dozen years.


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