I was born in Pierre, S.D., and within a year or so my folks moved to Sioux Falls. By the time I was 5, we located to Huron where I was raised through high school. In my memory, Huron was a great place to grow up. It was a town of about 14,000, had a 4-year college and an arena that seated about 7,000. That arena hosted many basketball games, some NBA games and many musical and cultural events.
My mother was an English teacher and my dad was a Math teacher and coach. Because he coached football, basketball and track, sports became an addiction of mine at a young age. We lived in a great neighborhood with my grade school friends. They included Billy Baer, Bruce Kohler, Gary Busch and many others. We made our own fun and had the run of ‘west’ Huron. I remember my dad teaching me basketball in our basement going one-on-one. I must admit, I was pretty good at a young age.
My older sister, Carol, was mainly into music. She was 3 years older than me and our interests were different. My younger brother, Lyle, was very intelligent and an excellent student who experienced all A’s his entire life. He was also a hemophiliac and spent about 1/3 of his life in the hospital. He died his senior year of High School as number 1 in his class. I always felt very protective of him growing up. He was a wonderful kid with a tremendous sense of humor and very well-liked by everyone.
Our family traveled a lot in the summer months, visiting both coasts but often traveling to California where we had many relatives.
In school I did pretty well – getting mostly A’s. I was homecoming King in my senior year and served as student body president. And of course, I excelled in football and basketball! However, I was very small, reaching 5’ 7” and 130 pounds by the time I was a senior. In football, I started playing Quarterback and received All-State Honors. In basketball, I started both my Junior and Senior years. My best friends in high school were Gary Busch, Jerry Fiala and Art Moxon. We were best buddies and hung out together all the time. I have really good memories growing up with very supportive and stable parents. Of course, church was important to us and especially to my parents. We didn’t ever miss a Sunday ‘going to church’ day and I was also active in Methodist Youth Fellowship. We had a nice gym in our church which helped my desire to be there. We played a ton of Sunday afternoon basketball there.
To wrap this up: my childhood was solid with good family values, lots of sports and education being a top priority. We kids were all expected to go to college and do well in school and we did. Unfortunately, Lyle’s illness had an ever-present effect on us as you never knew when the next crisis with his health would occur.