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

Roger Nelson - Inducted 2009

A 1954 Brookings High and 1958 University of South Dakota grad, Nelson has been a referee/official/umpire for more than 50 years in a host of sports: football, boys/girls basketball, volleyball, wrestling, track, baseball and softball. And he was an outstanding athlete and coach as well. He began officiating in 1955 while in college, mainly football and softball - and he's still at it, though these days he only refs football. He has refereed the state high school football, basketball and volleyball tournaments. He officiated three state football finals and one state boys basketball final as well as several state volleyball tourneys. He also reffed those three sports at the college level. At 6-2 1/2 and 210 pounds, he was the starting center for USD's 1958 NCAA Division II basketball champs under Coach Dwane Clodfelter. He was all-conference as the Coyotes went unbeaten in North Central Conference play and won their last 20 games in a row, beating St. Michael's (Vt.) 75-53 in the finals. He also started on USD's team the year before that won the NCC title and lost in the first round of the national tourney. He played guard at Brookings High, where he set a school single-game record of 37 points and held the career scoring record (1,027 points) for more than 50 years. He helped Brookings to the 1952 state title, was quarterback of the mythical state champion football team, was a two-time state discus champ in track and he was a catcher in Legion baseball. He coached in Hartley (Iowa), Colman, Fort Pierre and Canova. At Canova, he guided the girls basketball team to a 102-17 record and four state-tourney berths in five years (1975-79). He was 77-49 as a boys coach. He also has coached football, track and baseball. He remains an active athlete, competing in the National Senior Games in basketball, track and swimming. He is also perhaps South Dakota's No. 1 basketball fan, attending a large number of games throughout the state. He is a member of the halls of fame of USD, Brookings High, the Entringer Classic, the state amateur basketball association and the South Dakota Senior Olympics.

(Bottom photo is Brookings HS, Roger is No. 17)

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