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

Don Bierle - Inducted 2005

Co-founder of the South Dakota Sportswriters Association and the South Dakota Sports Hall of Fame, Bierle's love of athletics as a measure of character began early. Although a childhood injury put him on crutches or in a wheelchair for more than 60 years, Bierle lived and breathed sports. A 1946 Yankton High and 1951 University of South Dakota law school graduate, Bierle began work as a linotype operator for the Yankton Press & Dakotan but soon moved to the sports desk, where he served as the P&D's sports editor for more than 25 years. Bierle interviewed all the greats - from Joe Louis to Frank Leahy.

Everywhere he went, Bierle made a difference - and he always did it with great energy and joy. With Lars Overskei, he founded the Yankton Junior High Relays in the early 1950s. He helped create the semi-pro baseball Basin League in the 1950s. He worked with high school coaches to establish the state's football playoffs. He was an enthusiastic advocate of girls athletics, with two of his daughters playing on the first Yankton Gazelles championship basketball team in the 1970s.

In 1997, he received the USD Athletic Department Special Contributor Award, recognizing his leadership in the construction of the DakotaDome. He was a member of the Yankton High and Yankton College sports halls of fame.

Bierle's "second career" was his nationally recognized health care law practice. He served for many years as general counsel for Avera Health and was co-founder of the American Academy of Hospital Attorneys.

A fierce competitor, Bierle often exhorted his children with the comment, "If you don't win, don't come home." One always assumed he was partly serious when he said that. In 1968, when the sportswriters first discussed creating this hall of fame, Bierle looked around the meeting table and announced, "Let's do it!" And they did.

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