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

Jill Christensen - Inducted 2003

Jill (Smidt) Christensen graduated in 1979 from Lennox High School and from Northwestern College in Orange City, Iowa in 1983. In high school, she was a two-time Class A 1st team All-State girls basketball player and earned four medals at the State Track Meet in the 880-yard run and the 2-mile relay. While at NWC, she was a four-year letterwinner in both Women’s Basketball and Softball and was the first female basketball player at Northwestern to score 1000 points in a career.

During her 36 years as head volleyball coach at Parker High School, Jill Christensen compiled a record of 837-266-14. She currently ranks first in wins in South Dakota volleyball history. Her teams made fourteen state tournament appearances including Parker-Marion winning the state title in 1990 and runner-up in 1991. Parker’s other showings at state include five 3rd place finishes - 2011, 2012, 2014, 2015, and 2016, two 4th place finishes - 1994 and 2010, three 5th place finishes - 1993, 2009 and 2018, a 7th place in 1995, and an 8th in 2017. Besides coaching volleyball, Christensen served as the assistant girl’s basketball coach for three years, head girls’ basketball coach for seven years, and eleven years as a track coach, three years at the junior high level and eight more as a junior high/assistant track coach.

Her coaching has garnered several awards including the Distinguished Service Award from the South Dakota High School Activities Association (SDHSAA) in 2020 and selection into the South Dakota High School Coaches Association Hall (SDHSCA) of Fame in 2016. She was also honored as a NHSACA National Coach of the Year Finalist in 2016. She received the Volleyball Coach of the Year from the SDHSCA in 1990 and Region Coach of the Year from the South Dakota Volleyball Coaches Association (SDVBCA) in 1990, 2006, 2009, 2010, 2012, 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017 and was a finalist for the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) Coach of the Year in 2010.  She was inducted into the SDVBCA Hall of Fame in 2010 and the Northwestern College Hall of Fame in 1995. In 2012, she was honored with a Girls and Women in Sports Leadership Award from the SDHSAA. Jill was presented with the Pathfinder Award in 2014 from the Society for Health and Physical Educators (SHAPE) of South Dakota.

In addition to her dedication as high school coach, Christensen was also committed to athletics at the state level.  She served as President and webmaster for the SDVBCA and presented at both the SDHSCA and SDVBCA clinics.  Jill was the head coach for the South All-Star volleyball team in 2003, assistant coach in 2014 and 2015, and assistant coach for the All-Star basketball team in 1987.  Jill has volunteered at numerous state volleyball tournaments to select All-Tournament teams and take stats.  Christensen also served on the Elite 15 Committee and the National Girls and Women in Sports Banquet Committee for many years.

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