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Anderson to enter South Dakota Sports Hall of Fame Saturday
April 8, 2011
Dakota State alum will be entering in the South Dakota Sports Hall of Fame on Saturday. Cliff Anderson is preparing for his entry in the induction ceremony in Sioux Falls, S.D.
Katherine Zylstra, Rod Vietor, Lauren ‘Juice’ Carroll, Mike Stadem and Father Phil turned him into a standout student-athlete at Dell Rapids High School.
And the likes of Ed Harter, Lee Moran and Al Weisbecker fine-tuned his skills at then-Dakota State College here in Madison.
At Dell Rapids High School, he capped his Quarriers’ career being tabbed a two-sport all-state player in both basketball and football. He also set a state track record in the high jump at six feet and 5 3/8 inches, placing in the event at the state meet. Anderson, too, led his American Legion baseball team to back-to-back state titles. He was also the American Legion player of the year.
“Mom and Dad instilled in me great work ethic and strong moral values that have stayed with me well into adulthood,” said Anderson.
He is also grateful for the rest of his relatives who were also his role models.
Fortunately for Anderson, Mrs. Zylstra was his first grade teacher.
“She was the kindest person I’ve ever known,” he said. “Mrs. Zylstra helped to mold the foundation for many of us as we entered the public education system. I have nothing but fond memories of her as a teacher. She was a great, great lady!”
Anderson also had the good fortune to be coached by Vietor as he entered competitive sports as a seventh-grade basketball player.
“He was a positive role model, a man of great integrity and a person who made a positive impact on my life,” he added. “He was truly a great man who made a difference in many of our lives.”
(The seventh-grade basketball team that Anderson played on had an undefeated 30-0 mark that season.)
Carroll, Anderson’s high school basketball and track coach, showed Anderson the importance of playing as a team, according to Anderson.
“Coach Carroll taught me humility and was a great inspiration to me,” he said. “Respecting Coach Carroll was easy to do. He was a very bright man and was known as a keen strategist in basketball and football coaching circles.”
Anderson’s toughness in athletics was bolstered by Stadem, his high school football coach.
“Coach Stadem, or ‘Iron Mike’ as we all knew him, was a hard-nosed coach who knew how to light a fire under you when it was needed,” stressed Anderson. “He had an infectious laugh that could rock a locker room. He was a hard worker and a good man.”
It was Stadem who made a bid for Anderson to go to Northern State College in Aberdeen so that Anderson could play for Bob Wachs.
Anderson also had offers from other South Dakota colleges and universities, along with those from Iowa, Minnesota, North Dakota and Wyoming.
Phil Anderson wanted his son to go to the University of Wyoming. Father Phil was also Cliff’s baseball coach.
“He prepared me well for the rigors of college baseball,” added Anderson. “He made baseball a sport that, for me, was both competitive and enjoyable. Baseball was a close second to basketball as being my favorite sport.”
“A factor that made attending DSC an easy choice was the home visits I received from Coach Harter and several other DSC coaches,” said Anderson. “They did a great job selling Dakota State to me, along with showing me the many opportunities to get a great education, made my choice an easy one.”
Harter added, “There were a lot of Dell Rapids kids at DSC and Cliff hung out with them. I felt if we could get him, we’d have a good basketball and football player, along with having a good student-athlete in other sports.”
The late U.S. Senator Karl Mundt sealed the deal for Anderson going to Dakota State at Dell Rapids’ graduation in 1969.
“It was at our graduation that Senator Mundt awarded me a full-ride scholarship (in his name) to attend Dakota State,” added Anderson.
“The Karl Mundt Educational & Historical Scholarship was given to prospective student-athletes on a year-to-year basis. I was fortunate that Senator Mundt and Dakota State felt that I deserved to receive the scholarship for my entire four years at DSC.”
While at DSC, Anderson was a four-sport athlete, competing in basketball, football, track and baseball.
In basketball, Anderson was an All-SDIC player for three years (1971-73) and All-NAIA District 12 twice.
He was the NAIA’s third-leading scorer in his senior season, averaging 29.4 points per game and placed him in a group of Top 10.
“He knew when to jump and take his shots,” said Harter. “He was the first one at practice and the last one leaving the gym after practice. If you asked him to run 10 laps, he’d run 12.”
As a football Trojan, Anderson was a four-year starter, a two-time All-SDIC wide receiver and a member of the victorious 1971 Boot Hill Bowl team which ended up with a 9-2 record.
“Cliff really had a good set of hands,” said Dan Stratton, Anderson’s away-games roommate and fellow pass-catcher. “He didn’t screw around. He worked hard and he took practices seriously.”
As a freshman high jumper, he set a conference record.
“We knew that Cliff was a good athlete, but being an outstanding athlete in all four sports surprised all of us coaches at Dakota State,” said Weisbecker.
Anderson also produced a .320 batting average playing baseball for Harter.
“He could hit the hell out of the ball,” smiled Harter. “He could play any position on the field, but his best spot was first base.”
Anderson has a special place in his heart for Harter and Lee Moran, his college football coach.
“Ed was as close to a father figure as I could have asked for while at DSC. Coach Harter and Lee Moran had a big impact on me while I was in college. Coach Harter is and will always be the best thing that everything happened to me while I was at Dakota State. I loved playing for both these men,” said Anderson.
Following college, Anderson was a graduate assistant for the football and basketball teams at Western Illinois. He was then drafted and played briefly in professional basketball for Herbie Brown’s Israeli Sabres before a knee injury ended that career.
Dr. Joel Swisher, DSC’s then athletic director, brought Anderson back to Dakota State to coach the men’s basketball team in 1977 and handle assistant coaching duties in football.
In 1979, however, LeMars (Iowa) High School hired Anderson to teach and coach basketball for them. LeMars, in the three years that Anderson coached the team, was ranked twice in Class 2A basketball, including a 20-2 season and being ranked No. 1.
Anderson has two master’s degrees.
He received one in guidance counseling at South Dakota State University in Brookings. The other one is educational administration which he attained at Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma, Wash.
He also received his superintendent credentials via Executive Leadership Program at City University in Seattle.
For the past 25 years, Anderson has served as a secondary school administrator in the Bethel School District, whose student population is 17,500 students, in Spanaway, Wash.
He is currently serving as the principal of Bethel High School, which includes over 1,100 students in grades 10 through 12.
Anderson has also taught 10 years for City University’s Educational Administration Program, specifically teaching change management and human resource management.
During those past 25 years, Anderson has been married to his wife, Connie.
Together, they have two children. Their daughter Tera works in the Bethel School District as a special education para-professional. Their son Kim is a journeyman electrician.
They also have four grandchildren.
His mother Helen and stepfather Archie Rackerby live in Brookings.
Phyllis, one of his three sisters, is married to Madison Central’s superintendent Vince Schaefer. His other two sisters, Linda and Patricia, live, respectively, in Texas and Wyoming.
Dan Holsworth, Dakota State University Athletics Assistant
Edited by Nick Huntimer, Dakota State University Sports Information Director