Longtime Black Hills State University coach and athlete Dale Hardy, 88, died on Sunday, Jan. 13, 2013, at the South Dakota Veteran’s Home in Hot Springs, leaving behind a successful career in athletics which spanned nearly six decades.

Born Dec. 6, 1924, Hardy was a standout athlete at a young age. In 1942, he helped the Sturgis Scoopers win their first football championship. After earning 11 varsity letters at Sturgis, he went out for football at the University of Colorado where he became the only sophomore in the starting lineup. Hardy earned honorable mention all-conference honors and helped guide the Buffalos to the 1944 Big Seven championship. He also lettered in track and field events while attending the University of Colorado.

Following a tour of duty with the U.S. Navy, Hardy enrolled at Black Hills State University, then known as  Black Hills Teachers College. Hardy helped rebuild the BH post-war athletic program and helped power the Yellow Jackets to one of the most successful athletic seasons in the school’s history. Hardy played a significant role in the three major sports programs at BH.

Hardy graduated from BH in 1948 and began his teaching and coaching career at Winner High School and for three summers was a standout pitcher for the semi-pro Winner Pheasants. His best season with the Pheasants came in 1949 when he finished 17-3. A few years later when he was with the Goodland Kansas Tigers, another semi-pro baseball team, he again displayed his pitching talents by throwing a no-hitter against Colby Kansas. He was selected as an all-district baseball player in 1953.

In 1950, he returned to the service with the Army 196th Regimental Combat Team. Hardy served as second lieutenant in charge of athletics and recreation at Fort Carson in Colorado and later at Fort Richardson near Anchorage, Alaska. Following being discharged from the Army in the fall of 1952, Hardy returned to University of Colorado to complete his master’s degree in physical education.

He began his coaching career as the head football coach at Trinidad Junior College in Trinidad, Colo. Under Hardy’s two-year reign, the Trinidad Trojans dominated the Empire Conference through two undefeated seasons.

Hardy then spent three seasons coaching at Denver University before returning to BHSU. Hardy spent the next three decades coaching football and track at his alma mater. He coached the Yellow Jacket teams to two-second place conference finishes in both football and track. In 1968, he returned to school to complete his directorate degree in physical education from the University of Indiana. He returned to BHSU as a physical education instructor and also oversaw the University’s intramural program.

While at BHSU, Hardy became interested in training horses and worked with many people around the region training race horses. He was active with the Green and Gold Club at BHSU.

Hardy was honored as a hall of fame inductee for BHSU, SDIC, South Dakota State Amateur Baseball, and Sturgis High School Athletics.

Memorials to the Dale Hardy Scholarship may be sent to the Yellow Jacket Foundation, Unit 9506, Spearfish,SD  57799-9506.