Boyd Sussex –former Milbank High School teacher, coach, and athletic director — was honored on his induction into the South Dakota Basketball Coaches Association (SDBCA) Hall of Shrine on Friday, March 17, at the Class A basketball tournament in Sioux Falls. Sussex was involved in coaching for 33 years — 31 of them as a head boys basketball coach. Sussex’s wife, Kathy, his son, Jackson, and his grandchildren, Baker and Lauren, accompanied him to the event.
Sussex retired from MHS in June 2017 after a 19-year career, including a nine-year stint as athletic director, but that hasn’t stopped the accolades from coming in. In 2021, he received the South Dakota High School Activities Association (SDHSAA) Distinguished Service Award for his contributions to high school basketball. The award was presented during the 2021 South Dakota Class A State Basketball Tournament.
In 2015, Sussex was named the regional Athletic Director of the Year by SDHSAA . As the athletic director for Milbank, he had acquired corporate sponsorships for many of the special events Milbank had hosted in cross country, track and field, gymnastics, basketball, wrestling, and golf.
He directed the State A girls and boys golf tournaments in Milbank, and numerous boys and girls Class A and B basketball district and regional tournaments. He also directed regional events in golf, gymnastics, track and field, volleyball, and wrestling. Sussex created the Coaches Fighting Cancer team that continues to volunteer in the It Only Takes a Spark cancer walk in Milbank every year. Originally from Hope, North Dakota, Sussex’s career as a teacher and a coach began in his home state. He graduated from Valley City State University in Valley City, North Dakota in 1975. He then served 12 years — four in Glenburn, seven in Fessenden, and one in Garrison. His titles included head boys basketball coach, head football coach, head track coach, head baseball coach, head girls basketball coach, and athletic director. He also spent time as a junior high football coach and an assistant girls basketball coach.
The Sussex family then relocated to Milbank, where Boyd spent 30 years at MHS. For 19 years, he was at the helm of the boys basketball team. He compiled a 275-136 record. His overall record, including his career in North Dakota, was 443-247, which placed him at number 10 for all-time victories in South Dakota boys basketball history at the time of his retirement. He still ranks in the top 20.
Sussex led the Bulldogs to the state Class A boys basketball tournament six times, capping that achievement with the 2005 State A championship title. During that time, his teams won six Northeast Conference titles, and he won three regional Coach of the Year awards. He also served as an assistant football coach for 18 years.
His wife, Kathy, of 47 years said, “He knows this would not have been possible without all of the great players that he had the good fortune to coach during his career, great assistant coaches, supportive administrations, and parents. He thanks them all for it.”
Sussex generously continues to give his time to high school sports. In 2021 he stated, “Something that has been really rewarding for me in retirement is the number of coaches I help,” he says. “It could be with schemes, practices, special situations, player evaluations, or pretty much anything having to do with basketball. That has been really fun.” He also frequently subs at Tiospa Zina Tribal School.
A constant champion of teamwork, Sussex added, “None of this recognition would have been possible without Kathy’s help. She was instrumental in anything I did professionally. She was the consummate coach’s wife!” The couple now makes their home on Big Stone Lake. Their son Jackson’s family includes his wife, Val, and children Baker (7) and Lauren (5).
Submitted Photo: Jackson, Boyd, Baker, Kathy and Lauren