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

John Simko - Inducted 2001

Sioux Falls (1957 Washingon HS grad). 1961 Augustana grad. Simko's great athletic achievements have been unusually varied. He is the only South Dakotan to win state high school tennis titles four years in both singles and doubles (1954-57), and he was ranked No. 1 in 18-and-under singles in the Northwest Region. In his senior season he won state tennis and track (high hurdles) titles on the same day in Mitchell. He lettered three years in football at Washington High. The Warriors were undefeated his senior year (playing teams throughout the Midwest under Bob Burns' tutelage), and he was named to the all-state team. In basketball, Simko led Washington to the state championship his junior year and runner-up his senior year, and he was all-state and team captain his senior year. He was an outstanding hurdler in track, always finding time for his tennis exploits. At Augustana, Simko was again a four-sport letterman. In tennis (freshmen were ineligible), he was the North Central Conference singles champion his sophomore year. The tourney was rained out his junior year, and he was ineligible his senior year because of signing a pro football contract with the Pittsburgh Steelers. In football, the 6-foot-1, 188-pound Simko was one of the nation's leading receivers each of his three varsity seasons, leading the Vikings to the NCC championship his junior year (under Burns). His senior year he was voted the NCC's Most Valuable Lineman, was co-captain of the team and was named to the Associated Press Small College All-America team. Simko lettered three years in basketball and ran on the Viking track team. He was inducted into the South Dakota Tennis Hall of Fame in 1994. His post-college athletic achievements include being chosen by the Steelers in the 18th round of the 1961 NFL draft and winning many tennis tournaments in the five-state area in singles and doubles (including the South Dakota Closed).

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