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    Rapid City Sports Hall of Fame Spotlight: Duane Whalen (Inducted 1997)

    Duane Whalen is a graduate of Rapid City High School and Black Hills State University.  He started his 40 year career in education in 1958 in Rapid City.  He served 11 years as a social studies teacher and coach at South Junior High School, followed by another eight years as a history teacher and coach at Rapid City Central High School.  He began his career in activities administration in 1977 when he was appointed Junior High Activities Director for the Rapid City Area Schools. In 1980, he became the Assistant Principal in Charge of Activities at Rapid City Stevens High School. Under his leadership the Stevens High School  Raider athletic teams captured 49 state championships and were runner up 26 times.   While at Stevens two of his proudest accomplishments was working with Jim Haar, Rapid City Central’s activity director, to create  the Greater Dakota Athletic Conference (the Stevens Raiders had never been in an athletic conference and it was the first time the Rapid City Cobblers had been in an athletic conference since the “50s) and initiating the Rushmore Bowl, which has become a major fund raising activity for both Stevens and Central high schools.

    During his eighteen years at Stevens High School he served on numerous professional committees and boards at the local, state and national level.  Most noteworthy on the state level are two terms on the SDHSAA Gymnastics Advisory Committee, three terms on the AD Hoc Committee studying the SDHSAA Activity Calendar, liaison between the South Dakota High School Athletic Directors Association and the South Dakota High School Coaches Association, and past president of the South Dakota Athletic Directors Association.  One of the most rewarding experiences during this time period was co-managing 40 plus SDHSAA state championship events in Rapid City with his good friends Howard Naasz and Jim Haar.    

    For his efforts in 1997 he was elected to the Rapid City Sports Hall of Fame, presented the SDHSAA Distinguished Service  Award, and was the recipient of the NIAAA State Award of Merit.  In 2003 Whalen was inducted into the SDIAAA Hall of Fame.     

    Since his retirement in 1998 Whalen has been able to continue his interest and serve high school sports by being one of the consigners of officials for the western division of the Greater Dakota Conference.  In addition his retirement has allowed him time to serve as the unofficial executive director for the OFFICIALS which is a sports support and promotion  group in Rapid City that also sponsors the Rapid City Sports Recognition and Hall of Fame Banquet and the Rapid City Sports Hall of Fame.  Among other things this role entails researching Rapid City sports history and maintaining an active list of candidates for the sports hall of fame and athletes of the year honors.  As a native of Rapid City, studying Rapid City sports history and keeping track of Rapid City athletes as they progress through high school, college, and beyond is a labor of love.  

    Listen to the interview with Duane Whalen:

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