HURON — Dan Thelen, who has coached track and field as well as football for 40 years was presented the Eastern South Dakota Conference Award of Merit recently at the ESD Track and Field Meet.
Earning awards is nothing new to the graduate of Pierre High School and Dakota State College.
He has been selected as Football Coach of the Year, when he won his second state football title at Montrose High School. He was inducted into the S.D. Football Coaches Hall of Fame in 2006.
After winning back-to-back State 9AA titles at Montrose, Thelen took over the football program at Huron High School, in 1988.
His Tigers won ESD Conference titles in 1989 and 1991. The team was state runner-up in 1991 and claimed the state title a year later.
For the past 29 years, Thelen has enjoyed great success as an assistant track coach in charge of the pole vault. His vaulters have won numerous ESD titles - including this year’s boys’ title by Trent Francom - and several state titles. Since girls’ pole vault began, Thelen has seen eight of his vaulters climb into the top-10 list. Several of his vaulters have enjoyed continued success at the collegiate level.
He has been an official for several high school sports for more than 30 years.
Dan has been married to Linda for 29 years. They have four sons; Mark, Mike, Matt and Shaun. They have 10 grandchildren and one angel.