Larry Leeds

My first taste of Dakota State College (now Dakota State University) came in 1976, when I transferred from University of South Dakota at Springfield to DSC.

While attending USD/S, I participated in football one year and was the student manager one year.

When I arrived in Madison in the fall of 1976, some of the first people I met were the football players. On Saturday, some of those 1976 players were back in Madison for a 40th reunion. It was in 1976 that the Trojans won the South Dakota Intercollegiate Conference championship under the direction of Coach Joel Swisher.

The nifty thing about that team, along with other Swisher teams, was that most of the players were homegrown kids who came from Clark, Willow Lake, Baltic, Chester, Colman and Estelline, among other towns. Sprinkle in some players from Iowa and Minnesota, along with some players from Massachusetts, and a winner was born.

During Saturday's celebration, I knew most of the former players who returned for the weekend, and the stories were great to relive with them again.

Some of that 1976 team could still be out on the field; others would have to get back in shape - just a little. But back in the day they were all fantastic players.

The 1977 team was unbeaten and it will be 40 years next year. I hope they have a celebration so some more good times will be talked about before, during and after the game.


Larry Leeds was born and raised in South Dakota, graduating from Colman High School in 1974. He continued his education at USD/Springfield and Dakota State University and received a bachelor's degree in physical education and history in 1979. He later obtained a journalism degree from South Dakota State University.

Before coming to Madison, Leeds worked at weekly papers in Flandreau, St. James, Minn., Redfield and Hayti (Hamlin County Publishing with Castlewood and Estelline).

He has a passion for all sports, especially high school sports and amateur baseball, because these teams are filled with players who want to be playing the game.

His favorite teams are the Nebraska Cornhuskers, Chicago Bears, Minnesota Twins and Timberwolves, and New York Yankees.

Leeds is also a NASCAR fan whose favorite drivers are Dave Blaney and his son Ryan.