May 16, 2014
By Larry Leeds, Madison Daily Leader Sports Editor - Click here for the article -Photo by Mike Black
MADISON, S.D. - It was everything he thought it would and then some for Buzz Stevenson.
Stevenson is stepping down as Dakota State University's track and field coach after 29 years.
Stevenson, 71, has been coaching high school and college athletes for the past 46 years.
"My high school coach had a lot of influence on me, and I looked up to him a lot," he said.
Stevenson graduated from Ipswich High School, where he competed in football, basketball and track. He was an All-State running back and placed in the 100- and 220-yard races at the state track meet as a junior and senior.
After high school, he attended Yankton College and played football and ran track for a South Dakota legend, Carl Youngworth.
After college, Stevenson was a high school coach for 14 years, with 10 years at Huron High School. He led the Huron boys' team to their first Eastern South Dakota Conference championship.
He was also a college coach for two years before coming to DSU.
When he arrived in Madison, DSU's mission statement had just changed and the cross country and track and field programs were depleted.
"There was very little scholarship money spent at that time," he said. "There were many manhours spent on the phone trying to convince kids to come here."
It was not long until Stevenson started to get some good people in the program, and his teams were able to capture 14 South Dakota Iowa Conference titles. His last team placed second in the first North Star Athletic Association meet last Friday.
As he is leaving the program, Stevenson believes the cupboard is not bare for the next coach.
"We have some pretty good individuals coming back," he said. "Our men's team should be pretty good; the women's team needs more numbers."
In his years at DSU, Stevenson has coached two national champions, Andy Coy and Desa Rae Doyle. He has also had several national runners-up.
Over the years, Stevenson has accumulated many coaching honors. He was the South Dakota High School boys' track and field coach of the year, SDIC coach of the year 14 times, and Great Plains Regional Cross Country coach of the year twice.
He is a member of the Huron High School Hall of Fame and was an honorary referee at the Howard Wood Dakota Relays.
"I will miss being around the athletes and coaches the most," he said.
However, Stevenson will not miss the recruiting and the long road trips that he has taken over the years.