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    Rapid City Sports Hall of Fame Spotlight: Hugh Welsh (Inducted 2004)

    Hugh Welsh is the winningest men’s basketball coach in South Dakota School of Mines history.  Welsh, who guided the Hardrockers for nineteen years, compiled an overall record of 268-273 and become the second longest tenured coach in program history.  Welsh also served as Mines athletic director through a period of aggressive expansion of athletics facilities, which led to the school’s move from NAIA to NCAA Division 2.

    For his major contributions to South Dakota Mines men’s basketball and athletics program, Welsh was inducted into the Rapid City Sports Hall of Fame in 2004.

    A native of Minot, ND, Welsh began his coaching career at Wolford (ND) high school in 1973 after earning degrees from Valley City State and the University of Mary.  Welsh went onto serve as head men’s basketball coach and athletic director at Lake Region Community College in Devils Lake, ND.  During his eight year stint at Lake Region, Welsh’s teams amassed a 194-64 record, captured five Mon-Dak Conference titles, and earned a trip to the National Junior College national tournament.

    Welsh took the Hardrockers helm in 1986, and five years later coached the winningest team in school history (22-9).  During his Mines tenure, the Hardrockers won two conference titles and qualified for the 1997 NAIA national tournament.  Welsh was twice named conference Coach of the Year.

    The son of Ph.D. recipients, Welsh had a special appreciation for the high academic standards at Mines, “we have true student athletes here.  Every one of them is bound by the same requirements as their peers.  I’ve always thought that this is one the neatest things about the School of Mines – students are all doing the same thing, and there is nothing easy about what they are doing.  You don’t make it here if you’re not focused on academics.”

    In all, Welsh’s coaching career spanned 32 years.  His career coaching record is 545-380.

    As athletic director, Welsh guided Hardrocker programs through several facilities upgrades including the installation of state-of-the-art turf at O’Harra Stadium, the addition of a multi-media scoreboard, installation of a new playing surface and renovation of locker rooms at the King Center, and construction of a 4,200 ft2 football locker room at Dunham Field.  Welsh was twice named conference Athletic Director of the Year.   

    Welsh is an accomplished golfer, having captured five state-level titles in North Dakota and South Dakota.

    Listen to the interview with Hugh Welsh:

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