Dave Backlund ‘71
Dave Backlund certainly made an impact during his time as a student and a wrestler at Dakota Wesleyan University, and his contributions to the school and Tiger athletics have been a constant since his graduation. Backlund is an active Dakota Wesleyan TeamMaker, a DWU scholarship sponsor, and his contributions to the school’s golf, cross-country, and wrestling programs have been a wonderful boost to the well-being of those sports. In honor of his contribution, the Tigers wrestling team presents the Dave Backlund Leadership in wrestling each season, and Backlund has also been honored with the South Dakota Friend of Wrestling Award. Both of Backlund’s businesses: D & E Musing & Vending and Wild Oak Golf Club are corporate sponsors of DWU athletics, and Wild Oak also serves as the Tigers’ home venue for men’s and women’s golf and men’s and women’s cross-country. Backlund has been a member of the DWU Board of Trustees for 12 years, and he received the DWU Service to Alma Mater award. Backlund’s willingness to go the extra mile for DWU has been remarkable, and the Tiger athletic department is extremely grateful for his positive contributions.
Don Blumenberg ‘57
Don Blumenberg had a successful four-year career on the basketball court at Dakota Wesleyan University and has shown support for his alma mater since graduating from the university in 1957. He was a four-year letter winner for the Tiger men’s basketball program, and started in every single game all four years with the team. The Fulton, S.D., native was also president of the “W” Club at Dakota Wesleyan. He served on the Board of Trustees for 12 years and has been an active member of the Dakota Wesleyan TeamMakers booster club both as an organizer and recruiter. In 1998, he was given the Outstanding Service to Alma Mater Award from Dakota Wesleyan. As Chairman of the Board for the Fulton State Bank, he is a sponsor of the DWU Fulton State Bank Basketball Classic each year, which benefits the Dakota Wesleyan basketball programs.
Laverne Hubbard ‘32
LaVerne Hubbard considered one of Dakota Wesleyan University’s most enthusiastic and loyal supporters during his student days and alumnus years, had an undying love for DWU, especially athletics. He became a cheerleader and had the unique ability to keep a crowd constantly yelling encouragement to the teams. Hubbard also served as the basketball and football teams’ manager for four years. The story has often been told how each year as a student Hubbard organized and personally sold tickets to capacity for the special train that carried students and fans to the annual football game with arch rival Yankton College. Hubbard spent many years as a DWU Board of Trustees member.
Dr. Lucio Margallo
Dr. Lucio Margollo is being recognized for his contributions to Dakota Wesleyan athletics as one of the Tigers’ team physicians for nearly 30 years. Dr. Margallo came to Mitchell in 1985, and he has been working with the DWU athletic teams ever since. He also works closely with the athletic training program and its students. He attends home football and basketball games, as well as volleyball, wrestling, and baseball among other sports. All of his work with Tiger athletics is on a volunteer basis. Dr. Margollo, who has served as a member of the DWU TeamMakers booster club, lives in Mitchell and practices at Avera Medical Group Internal Medicine Delaney Clinic.
Dr. Robert McWhirter
Dr. Robert McWhirter has been a name synonymous with Dakota Wesleyan University athletics for more than 25 years. The Boston, Mass., native came to Mitchell in 1985, and has been working with the Tiger athletic teams ever since. He attends as many home games as possible- including nearly every home football and basketball game. McWhirter also works closely with the accredited DWU athletic training program and athletic training students- and he does it all on a volunteer basis. McWhirter has generously donated too many DWU athletic programs, including money for a new softball field, which was dedicated in 2010. He was instrumental in getting things moving on the new field, and thanks to his generous donation, the softball team has a place to call home complete with a new field fence, lighting, bleachers, dugouts, scoreboard and press box. He also had a hand in supporting the soccer fields at the new Pepsi-Cola Soccer Complex and the training room equipment at the new renovated Joe Quintal Field. Dr. McWhirter has been on many boards and committees at Dakota Wesleyan, including the DWU TeamMakers and the Dakota Wesleyan Board of Trustees. He was honored with the Sacrifice or Service Award from Dakota Wesleyan in 2000.
Jerry Miller ‘63
Jerry Miller, a football letterman and junior varsity basketball coach while attending Dakota Wesleyan University easily transitioned into a teaching, coaching and administration career in South Dakota after college. Miller left his mark on South Dakota athletics throughout his 40-year career, gaining friendships and respect from all those with whom he has worked. This is evidenced by Miller’s lengthy list of organizational positions of leadership and his numerous awards and honors. Miller is the former Chairman of the National Football Organization and the former President of the National High School Athletic Coaches Association. He is also the former President of the South Dakota High School Coaches Association and serves as a member of the Board of Directors of the South Dakota Sports Hall of Fame. Miller has twice been a nominee for South Dakota Coach of the Year. He received three National High School Athletic Coaches Association awards, and in 1998 he received the coveted Dwight T. Keith Award, which is given to those who have dedicated their professional careers to the betterment of athletics. In 1999, Miller was inducted into the South Dakota High School Coaches Association Hall of Fame and named the South Dakota Athletic Director of the year.
Dan Moran ‘62
Dan Moran transferred to Dakota Wesleyan University from Northern State University in 1959. He was a Tiger football letterman for three years. After graduating in 1962, Moran became one of South Dakota’s most winningest and most-respected high school basketball coaches. Moran’s career coaching record includes 406 victories and 168 losses. His teams at Stickney, South Dakota, participated in five state “B” tournaments, winning the state championship in 1981. Moran also coached the girls’ basketball team for two years, compiling a 37-2 record and state runner-up honors. Moran remained very loyal to his alma mater during his coaching career and sent DWU numerous outstanding high school players, many of whom are members of DWU’s Athletic Hall of Fame. Moran was twice named South Dakota Boys Basketball Coach of the Year and was nominated for National Coach of the Year. Moran also is a member of the South Dakota Basketball Coaches Hall of Fame.
Roger Musick has been a proud supporter of Dakota Wesleyan University academics and athletics for many years. The Mitchell native has been a Tiger fan since the 1960’s. He was a member of the Dakota Wesleyan Board of Trustees for 12 years, including an eight-year stint as the board chairman. During his time as board chair, he was one of DWU’s most generous private benefactors. He presided over the most ambitious and far-reaching expansion of the university’s physical plant in its 120-year history: the Sherman Center and the McGovern Library were constructed; Allen Hall was renovated and the student apartments were built. He is currently a member of the Arlene Gates Department of Nursing Advisory Board, as well as the Kelley Center Advisory Board. He supports the DWU TeamMakers booster club, and has been a supporter of Tiger athletics for numerous years.
Matthew D. Smith ‘12
Matthew D. Smith is believed by many to be the true legend of Dakota Wesleyan University. His loyalty, support and dedication to DWU went way beyond the norm. Smith was an honor student, an academic dean and a president from 1952 to 1958. Smith was a firm believer in academic excellence and sound athletic programs, and, when not traveling on school business, Smith never missed a home football or basketball game. After retiring in 1958, Smith continued his enthusiasm for athletics by attending each home game, every football practice and almost every basketball practice. Smith, who knew each player by first name, often visited with the players and gave words of encouragement following victories and defeats. Even though Smith received many awards and honors, his biggest honor came when he was named DWU’s “Number One Fan”. It is well known by alumni and friends that Smith had a 79-year love affair with DWU, and he often said that he cherished his “Number One Fan” award more than all the rest.
Over the past four decades, Tim Smith’s voice has become synonymous with Dakota Wesleyan University athletics. Smith began broadcasting DWU football, men’s basketball and women’s basketball for KORN radio in 1973, and in 1980 he made the switch to KMIT. His broadcasts have helped Tiger fans keep up with their favorite team both home and on the road, and his rich, detailed accounts have allowed his listeners to feel like they’re in the front row at center court or on the 50-yard line. Smith has called more than 1,500 Dakota Wesleyan games, and fans have heard his broadcast from seven national basketball tournaments and one national volleyball tournament. Fans have also enjoyed Smith’s wealthy interviews with Tiger coaches and athletes on his coaches’ show. Smith has been honored twice by the National Sportwriters and Sportscaster association, and has been named the South Dakota Sportscater-of-the-Year three times. Smith served as president of the DWU TeamMakers booster club and currently remains a charter member of the organization. He is also a former president and current member of the Mitchell Quarterback Club and is on the Board of Directors for the South Dakota Hall of Fame. Though Smith has received countless well-deserved honors throughout his career, his legacy will always be truly defined by Tiger fans’ everlasting memories of his unforgettable broadcasts.
Ron Wiblemo ‘53
Ron Wiblemo, a South Dakota All-State basketball player who enrolled in Dakota Wesleyan University in 1949, continued to display his basketball talents as a member of the Tiger basketball team. For the next three years, Wiblemo’s shooting ability helped lead the team to three consecutive second place finishes in the South Dakota Intercollegiate Conference. Unfortunately, Wiblemo was forced to give up his senior season because of an eye disease. However, Wiblemo did not forget his alma mater after graduation. He became a high school counselor for many years at Wagner, South Dakota, and during his counseling tenure he was instrumental in sending many students, including some great athletes, to DWU. Wiblemo will long be remembered as one of DWU’s greatest supporters.