Harvey Schaefer, former basketball coach at MHS, will be inducted into the South Dakota High School Basketball Hall of Fame on Saturday, March 24, in Sioux Falls. The Hall of Fame Class of 2018 includes such greats as NFL veteran Chad Greenway of Mount Vernon who spent 11 years with the Minnesota Vikings and Tripp-Delmont’s Jared Reiner who played in the NBA. Schaefer will be one of 13 inductees who take the Hall of Fame membership to 143.
“This is a real honor,” says Schaefer. “I really am humbled. I don’t really think I deserve this kind of recognition. I didn’t do anything as great as some of these other guys.” You don’t get something like this by yourself. You need a lot of people helping you. We just had a great team.”
Schaefer grew up in Hayti, South Dakota, where historically, the city’s population has hovered around 400. He was a standout pass-first guard for the Hayti High School Redbirds. Schaefer was considered the “floor general” on his team – the extension of the coach on the court or much like the quarterback in football. That team won the State Class B championship title in 1954, his senior year. They also finished the season with a 32-2 record.
“We had a lot of good players,” Schaefer says, “but what we were known for and what stood us apart from many teams was how we focused on being a team and playing as a team and not as individual players.”
Schaefer also cites their coach as key to their success. “Jim Marking was among one of the best in the state,” he says. “He taught us so much and really stressed team play.” Marking holds the distinction of being the only coach in South Dakota history to lead state championship teams in both Class A and Class B basketball conferences. He is also the most victorious coach in the history of South Dakota State University and a member of the South Dakota Coaches Hall of Fame.
Schaefer remembers the time one of his teammates wanted to look at the scorebook after a game to see how many points he had scored. “Coach Marking said, ‘It doesn’t matter what you scored. We won the game and that’s all that matters.’”
With Marking and the Redbirds, Schaefer played in three state tournaments. As a sophomore, the team was the runner-up to the state title. His junior year, Hayti made it to the consolation championship tilt, but was defeated and finished sixth. His senior year, they took home the trophy.
“The best times of high school were playing in those three state tournaments,” says Schaefer. “Basketball was all we did. We were pretty much born with a ball in our hands.”
Schaefer continued to play basketball in college at Dakota Wesleyan, where he racked up 1,244 career points. He also was named to the South Dakota Intercollegiate All-Conference team three times.
He graduated with a physical education teaching degree and says, “If you got your PE degree, you were considered qualified to coach.” He landed his first teaching and coaching job in Plano, north of Mitchell, and spent one year there. He then coached in Menno for five years. Schaefer accepted a position with the Milbank School District in 1967, and began teaching elementary physical education at Koch School. He also took over as the head boys basketball coach at MHS following the resignation of Dave Wolsky. He discovered he says, “Playing you just had one person to worry about, but coaching you had to worry about the whole team.”
Schaefer posted a 147-110 coaching record during his 12 years leading the Bulldogs.
He also spent many years as a high school basketball referee. “I really loved reffing too,” he recalls. “That was a great time.”
Doors for the induction banquet open at 11:30 a.m. Memorabilia exhibits from the 13 inductees will be on display. The program starts at 1 p.m. The meal follows. Tickets are available to the public at $35 per ticket and $10 for children 10 and younger.
Tickets can be ordered through the South Dakota Basketball Hall of Fame website at www.sdbbhof.com or by sending a check to SDBBHOF, 2210 W. Pentagon Place, Sioux Falls, SD 57107.