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

Elmer Hansen - Inducted 2001

Born June 13, 1905, in Kanaranzi, Minn. Luverne (Minn.) HS. 1930 Morningside College grad. Hansen was one of the state's most successful track coaches, winning 12 state titles in his 21 years as head coach at Washington High. The Warriors' nine consecutive state titles from 1953-61 is the best such streak in state history.

While in high school he set a state record in the 880-yard run and as a senior placed fifth in Chicago's Alonzo Stagg National Interscholastic Track Meet.

At Morningside he won three straight North Central Conference 880-yard championships (1928-30) and was the first conference runner to break the two-minute barrier (1:59.6 in 1929).

He began his coaching career at Lennox from 1930-35, coaching football, basketball and track. He coached one year at Waverly, Iowa, before coming to Washington High in 1936 as an assistant in track and football under Howard Wood, a position he held for 13 years. In 1946 Hansen became Washington's cross country coach, and in 1947 Washington won the inaugural state meet. WHS won three state championships in cross country in Hansen's 22 years at Washington. Hansen succeeded Wood as head track coach in 1949 and held that position until his retirement in 1970. His track teams won 12 state titles, including nine in a row from 1953-61. During his time as an assistant and head coach at WHS, he was part of 21 state titles. He also had 10 teams that were state runners-up. His teams also won five Eastern South Dakota crowns (1949-54) before the school left the league.

Hansen also was timekeeper at all WHS football and basketball games from 1936-70. He also was timekeeper for all Augustana College basketball and football games as well.

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