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

Ted Kessinger - Inducted 2014

A Sioux Falls native who was a 1959 Washington High and 1963 Augustana graduate, Kessinger is one of the few South Dakotans to be inducted into the National Football Foundation College Hall of Fame, in 2010.

He was the football coach at Bethany (Kan.) College for 28 years, compiling a 219-57-1 record with 16 conference championships.

The Swedes were 1-9 in 1975, the year before Kessinger arrived, but they never had a losing season under Kessinger. He was named Coach of the Year in the Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference 11 times. He was the winningest active NAIA football coach at the time of his retirement. Twenty times the Swedes were nationally ranked in the season-ending NAIA top 25. Ten times Bethany reached the NAIA playoffs. He was inducted into the NAIA Hall of Fame in 2003 and the Kansas Sports Hall of Fame in 2005.

“My Christian ministry was the most significant responsibility of my coaching career,” Kessinger said. “I had the privilege of coaching more than 1,000 players … A significant factor in the good fortune we had as a Bethany football team was based on a principle of caring about each player’s total needs, and his family’s needs, whether it be academically, spiritually, socially or athletically. I believe without question the credit for the success of our football program was due to the support of my wife and children who understood my responsibilities, the dedication of our players, the outstanding talent and loyalty of my assistant coaches, and a college that was committed to achieving success. Thankfully the good Lord blessed me with these associations plus influences from my parents, brother, high school and college coaches.”

Kessinger started coaching as an assistant at the University of South Dakota, went to Augustana (Ill.) as a football assistant and head wrestling coach (winning five conference wrestling titles in five years), then returned to Augustana (S.D.) as an assistant football coach from 1969-1975 before coming to Bethany.

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