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Winning foundation laid by 1964-65 Trojan men's hoopsters
Don't tell Volga's George Kiner that the 1964-65 basketball Trojans, which went 11-10 wasn't a standout ballclub. "Our record wasn't a true indication of how good we were," said the team's starting guard Kiner. "Myron Moen, our scoring leader, missed several games with infected blisters on his feet. This was a huge factor in our losses."
"Even with his sore feet, Myron helped us," added Francis 'Junior' Bouman, one of Moen's fellow post players now living in rural Ruthton, Minn. "He scored 50 points against Dordt with those sore feet." Howard's Dennis Carlson, another one of the team's big men, points out, "I just know he played in a lot of pain that year."
Moen’s 50-point game versus Dordt and 45 in a game against USD-Springfield boosted Moen, who was from Sisseton, to the top of the Trojans’ scoring chart with 501 points.
Kiner and Moen typified that Trojans’ team with Kiner, a senior who completed his senior season with a second-leading 293 points. Moen was a sophomore in the midst of his stellar collegiate career.
Also, Coach Ed Harter had freshmen like Carlson, Rick Fisher, Lee Stoddard and Simon Schloe to blend in with Bill Heitkamp, a sophomore transfer from Mankato State, and Ray Riley (a sophomore).
Harter also had juniors Bouman and Ray Thomas along with Trojans’ other senior, Joe Determan.
It was up to Harter, in his second year as the Trojans’ head coach, to bring this combination of young and seasoned players together and win ball games. “They all could play basketball well, but they had different skills,” said Harter. “The trick was to get them to play well together.”
“George was in his last year, and we were ‘the glue’ that brought us together. He was tough and kept us going,” stressed Harter.
“Some players had tunnel vision. Myron, however, saw the entire floor,” noted Harter. “He was able to either score or launch passes which would almost knock the receiving player down.”
To that, Moen said, “For me, it was that I had to what Coach Harter expected me to do. If he needed me to score, I’d score. If he needed me to block out under the basket, I’d block out the other player. What he expected from all of us was to play good, fundamental basketball.”
Admittedly, it took Harter time to see what his freshmen players like Stoddard had to contribute to the Trojans. “It took me almost half that year to realize how good a ball player Lee was,” confided Harter. “Eventually, he became one of the best players I ever had. It didn’t matter for Lee whether he scored or not. He just want to get the rebounds and make the outlet passes.”
Prior to playing at General Beadle, Stoddard had been Parker’s starting center. “I had to get used to facing the basket,” admitted Stoddard. “Also, Coach Harter had to work hard teaching us to play defense. All of our taller players were used to taking shots. Playing for (Coach) Harter, I was (then) able to bring the ball up the court and passed the ball to one of our guards.”
“I found out who I should get the ball to, and that was to Myron and George,” added Heitkamp, a Mankato transfer. “My main thing was to try to fit in as a team player. Also, it was a pleasure playing for Coach Harter.”
Through Harter’s coaching, the Trojans were able to adapt to on-court situations. “If the other team clamped down on us on the inside, we were able to shoot and score one from the outside, and if they tried to control us on the perimeter, we could go to our inside game,” emphasized Harter.
Stoddard added, “What carried us through was the closeness of the team on the court. We developed a sixth sense of knowing what our teammates were going to do in different situations.”
“I think one of the most unique parts of our team was that we were able to control the tempo of many of our games this year,” said Fisher, the team’s freshman guard from Pontiact, Mich. “If we got up by six or seven points late in the game, we’d go into Coach Harter’s ‘four-out’ setups with Myron at the free-throw line. We’d get him the ball and he’d make the basket. We’d eventually win the game by 15 or so points.”
In addition to the X’s and O’s savvy that Harter brought to Madison, Harter also into the heads of his Trojans. “Really, Coach Harter kept us thinking positives throughout the season,” said Kiner.
He also kept the team from getting uptight playing away from Madison. “Ed was just fun to play for, especially on the road,” smiled Carlson. “He had a makeshift table in the bus’s aisle and we played his card game of Hearts. We also knew we’d eat well on trips. Ed likes eating a good meal.”
The last third of the season was memorable. The Trojans went on a 6-1 run setting stage for General Beadle to win SDIC titles in the next two years with consecutive 17-7 and 20-6 seasons.
After the 1964-65 season, Moen earned his second-straight All-SDIC honor. He would end his basketball career in 1967 being a four-time All-SDIC player, along with being a two-time NAIA All-American (a first-team pick in 1966 and an honorable mention nod in 1967).
By the time the freshmen of ’64-’65 Trojans graduated in 1968, Harter had endeared himself with his players. “We had great respect for Coach Harter,” said Kiner. “I think our admiration for him has grown through the years.”
Riley added, “Ed was a great person in my life. He was my mentor. I used many of his techniques and methods to go on and have a successful coaching career.”
Both Riley and Kiner, along with Stoddard, were members of the DSU Alumni Coach of the Year club. Kiner was club’s first member in 1972. Stoddard became a member in 1975, and Riley was named twice, the first time in 1981 and secondly in 1988.
All three of them coached basketball teams into state tournaments.
In 1972, Kiner’s Sioux Valley Cossacks took third-place honors with a come-from-behind win in the South Dakota State ‘B’ Tournament. Riley’s Tyler, Minn. Team was the Minnesota Class ‘A’ runner-up in 1981, ending a standout 24-2 season. As for Stoddard, his 1975 Madison Bulldogs were Class ‘A’ consolation champions.
Riley is now a retiree living in Florida. Kiner lives in Volga, producing South Dakota sports books and Stoddard is a financial advisor at Thrivent Financial for Lutherans in Madison.
Many of the other Trojans were later coaches. They included:
- Fisher coached a successful Wells-Easton High School basketball program in Michigan for many years, including a state consolation championship title one season. He coached all three of his sons – Brad, Ryan and Dustin. Fisher is currently a part of Promotions 2000 specialties business.
- Thomas coached and taught at Chester-Lyons High School in Kenosha, Wis. for 11 years. Now, he and his two children, Nicole and Scott, own and operate three Tomaso’s restaurants in Wisconsin.
- Determan coached and taught at Howard and Sioux City Heelan high schools. He then joined USD’s coaching staff while earning his master’s degree there. Later, Determan became a pharmaceuticals sales representative. He is now retired and living near Mead, Neb.
- Heitkamp, after graduating in 1968, went on to teach and coach at Minnesota high schools before retiring in 2001 to live in the rural Brainerd (Minn.) area.
- Carlson, upon graduating in 1968, taught and coached at Primgahr, Iowa. Later, he became a coach and teacher at Irene. He followed that by teaching and coaching at White Lake and Crow Creek. He also taught at the Pierre Indian Center. He is now retired and living in Howard.
- Moen, after graduating in 1967, became the Flandreau Fliers’ head basketball coach for a year. He then moved to Boone, Iowa, where he was the school’s sophomore boys’ basketball coach from 1970 to 1976. White at Bonne, Moe was also a part-time police officer. In later years, he became further involved with law enforcement. Currently, Moen is working hard establishing the South Dakota High School basketball Hall of Fame as its board president and executive director.
- Schloe, who finished his college career with consecutive All-SDIC honors in 1967 and 1968, became Baltic High School’s head boys’ basketball coach. In 1969, Schloe moved to Amboy, Minn., where he was the school’s head basketball, football and track coach for two years. He then left teaching and coaching profession for the private business sector. For many years, he has been the inventory manager for a farm machinery business in St. Cloud, Minn.
Beginning in 1995 with the induction of Moe and Harter into the Dakota State Athletic Hall of Fame’s first class, other 1964-65 basketball Trojans have became DSU Hall of Famers. They include Stoddard, who was inducted in 1997 and was followed by Riley in 2002, Fisher 2003 and Schloe 2008.
Dan Holsworth, Dakota State University Athletics Assistant
Edited by Nick Huntimer, Dakota State University Sports Information Director