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Materese, '70s intramurals captain, to retire from teaching and coaching in 2013
October 26, 2011
The 'Big 40!' That is not the age that Mike Materese is facing in 2013.
But, the Dakota State (College) graduate of 1973 will be completing and bringing to an end to his 40-year teaching and coaching career in the Madison school system.
The change could be as daunting as it was for him to leave Somerville, Mass., whose population in 1969 was around 100,000 to Madison where a little over 6,000 people lived in 1969.
(At that time, Somerville High School had 3,000 students!)
"When I graduated from Somerville, I wanted to go to a small school," he said. Dakota State had record 1,500-plus students back then.
Materese discovered what his uncle Anthony Spignese found out in the early '60s when he attended DSC.
"Madison was and still is a nice community, a big difference from where I came from," he added. "It had a nice, quiet atmosphere, and the school had good instructors."
He arrived in Madison as a student who didn't have the athletic credentials that other Somerville arrivals had; like Boot Hill Bowl players Sal Beraldi and Steve Mirabello, and later, DSU Hall of Famer Jeff Rodman, another Massachusetts student-athlete.
"I played just junior varsity basketball and baseball in high school," said the Madison educator-coach.
Materese would, however, play a vital role in making DSC intramurals a part of its physical education program.
"We created teams which lasted the entire school year," said Tom Farrell, who was in charge of intramurals in the early 1970's. Farrell is now retired from Dakota State and serving as the Madison School Board president.
"Intramurals included a variety of sports, and it was a part of the physical education curriculum with the team works toward a year-ending grand championship," said Farrell.
"Mike was instrumental in getting his team involved in that and rallied his players to that end. He was always full of enthusiasm and excitement, while being a competitive participant. It was people like Mike who made the program go."
"Farrell was in a very real sense Materese's mentor," admitted the Massachusetts native.
"He was a pretty good instructor who I've become good friends with," added Materese. "I feel I can go to him anytime with anything."
Materese has definitely contributed to the Madison school system, both as a teacher and coach.
In his first seven years, he taught fourth-, fifth- and sixth-grade science and sixth-grade math. The next 20 years, Materese was the school's eighth grade science instructor, and for the past almost dozen years, he has been involved in its physical education program.
In athletics, he has coached basketball, football and track and field on a variety of levels.
Personally, now-retired educator-coach Jim Cordts appreciates both Materese's teaching and coaching talents.
"He is an outstanding teacher and coach," said Cordts. "He was very fair in both teaching and coaching, especially with my wife Carroll and my children - Brad, Bob and Jeannie."
Also, Cordts coached Materese and the Madison Independent basketball team of 1975 to the state championship.
"He was a guy who encouraged his teammates from both the sidelines and on the court," added Cordts.
Upon his retirement, Materese will have more time to spend his wife of 36 years, Jane, the daughter of Madison's Dr. S.J. and Lenora Christensen. He'll have more family time with their son, James and his wife Casey (Korthals), a 2009 DSU graduate, and their daughter Carrie, and granddaughter Eden.
Materese has spent most of his life in South Dakota, but he is still true to Massachusetts pro sports teams.
"I'm the biggest supporter of the Red Sox, Patriots, Celtics and Bruins in Madison," concluded Materese.
He'll assure you, though, that he'll still be at a lot of DSU athletic contests.
Dan Holsworth, Dakota State University Athletics Assistant
Edited by Nick Huntimer, Dakota State Univerisity Sports Information Director