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

Gene Vidal - Inducted 1975

Born April 13, 1895, in Madison. 1912 Madison HS grad. 1916 USD grad. 1918 West Point grad.

He participated in the 1920 and '24 Olympic Games. At Antwerp in 1920, he finished seventh in the decathlon. He had sprained his right wrist in a car accident just before the Olympics, and any event that required throwing, like the javelin, he had to do left-handed. He also was an assistant track coach (in charge of the pentathlon and decathlon teams) at the '24 Games in Paris. Competed in the Inter-Allied Games in Paris in 1919, getting second in the pentathlon and playing on the winning rugby team.

The 5-10, 170-pounder played briefly in the NFL for the Washington Senators.

At USD from 1913-16, Vidal was a football, basketball, baseball and track letterman. Was captain of the 1915 football team and 1916 basketball team. He led the 1914-15 basketball team in scoring, helping USD to the South Dakota Intercollegiate Conference title.

At West Point, he scored three touchdowns and drop-kicked a 45-yard field goal in a 30-10 win over Notre Dame in 1916, when Army went 9-0 and outscored foes 235-36. Was captain of the 1918 football team. Also starred in track and basketball at Army. Was leading scorer on 1917-18 Army basketball team (8.3 points a game) and was chosen an All-American by the Helms Foundation.

Later was an assistant coach of Army basketball, football and track teams. After serving in the Army from 1918-26, he coached football at Oregon in 1926-27. The father of author Gore Vidal, he was a pioneer in the commercial aviation field, helping form both TWA and Northeast Airlines.

(Bottom photo is Vidal with Amelia Earhart)

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