Thursday, January 15, 2009

1954 Deadwood Bears Basketball Team, Inductees into the 2009 Lead-Deadwood High School Hall of Fame

Nearly 55 years ago, the Deadwood Bears’ High School won the 1954 South Dakota State “A” Basketball Championship. Sadly, the Deadwood High School name ceased to exist in 1971. It merged into the Lead-Deadwood High School in Lead and lost its identity. The 1924 vintage building became the Deadwood Middle School. In 1985, young arsonists set fire to the Deadwood School. The old building study hall, lockers, class rooms, storage areas and other building functions burned to the ground. The old basketball court is still there but it seems really small. The Assembly Hall and Stage lost most of its neat DHS embossed seats which went to the old City Dump, along with the band uniforms. The Lead school administration can change the Deadwood School Building's use and layout, but the spirit and memory of DHS stills burns brightly! As a part of their 50 Year Reunion activities, the DHS 1954/1955 Classes installed a "Home of Deadwood High School" plaque by the front stairway in 2005. The bronze plaque, with the Deadwood Bears Emblem, honors the Administrators, Faculty, Staff, and Students.
Click on images for larger size views

Molly Frawley, Honorary DHS nominated the 1954 Deadwood Bears Basketball Team for inductee consideration into the 2009 Lead-Deadwood High School Hall of Fame. The following letter announces that the 1954 Deadwood Bears Basketball team of Coaches, Players, Cheerleaders, Team Managers and Peppy (mascot) will be inducted into the 2009 Hall of Fame. The award luncheon will be held in Lead Golden Hills Resort on January 31, 2009.
Molly wrote: “The 1954 Deadwood High School basketball team had a terrific season, only losing one game during their regular season. They qualified for the State A tournament, which was held in the Huron Arena that year. The arena seemed like Madison Square Garden. The team had never played before 6000 people.
The first game was against Sioux Falls Washington High School. Very little hope was given for the Deadwood Bears against a school with 3000 students. Deadwood’s victory got a lot a people’s attention. The second game was against Huron who had the home advantage. It was a close game but once again Deadwood surprised the prognosticators. The championship game was against Parkston and once again, the Deadwood Bears surprised everyone. After the final game a young sports reporter by the name of Al Neuharth interviewed Coach Burgess. This same reporter is the founder of USA Today and is responsible for the Al Neuharth Center at USD in Vermillion.
The team had a wonderful reception upon their arrival in the Black Hills before they ever got home. The Sturgis Scoopers were out on their Main Street to greet the team. There was a huge reception when the team reached Deadwood.
50 years later a reunion was held for the team in 2004. Included was Coach Burgess, seven team members, team managers and the cheerleaders”.

Dave Klein
supplied the Lead School Administrator with the team's history summary from his extensive scrap-book collection. He also talked with me at length and provided me some images. Living first team players, Ed Morris, Reece Palmer, and Dave Klein plan to have Hank Frawley represent them at the award luncheon. In this picture, Dave Klein helps himself to my picnic lunch at 2007 DHS Reunion as Janet Thoresen and Carol Klein look on. I am trying to get the attention of the Picnic Police. The picnic was held in the Deadwood City Park next to the Deadwood Recreation Center at 105 Sherman Street. The Center features heated indoor pool, indoor and outdoor basketball courts, weight room, tennis court and cardio room. Mrs.Elsie Krug taught aqua aerobic classes in this pool until shortly before her death and she was nearly 100 years old.
Award Letter

DHS 1954 State "A" Champions

Radio Annnouncer Al Neuharth interviews Coach Burgess. Bear log scan

Sample Team Tee Shirts, they are impressive. I need an extra medium these days.
Pvt photo

Photo credit Dave Klein. In 2004 image left to right: Bill Beshara (team mgr.), Coach Glen Burgess, Hank Frawley, Ed Morris, Woody Williamson, Dave Klein, Bill Jones, Tom Gorder, and Reece Palmer. Dick Dunwiddie (senior team mgr.) seated, holds the 1954 South Dakota State "A" Basketball Championship Trophy.

Coach Burgess and Trophy. Pvt photo

Offical South Dakota Proclamation. Dave Klein scan
The 50th Reunion of the 1954 Deadwood Bears Basketball Team and the DHS54 Class was held in Deadwood in September 2004. At that time, Governor Michael Rounds officially proclaimed September 10-12, 2004 as South Dakota’s "Deadwood High School Class of 1954 Days"!

I included a few my images of the Basketball Reunion. I expect more images from other classmates and may get my CD access problem solved. These images are not listed in any order. Sadly, I believe that both Tiny and Glen Burgess have passed away.

Wife "Tiny" and Coach Burgess arrive at reunion. Pvt photo

Coach and Tiny greeted by Bill Beshara. Pvt. photo

Bill and Jeanne Jones. Pvt. photo

Ed and Pat Morris. Pvt photo

Marcia Kay Whitelock and Sherill Dunwiddie. Pvt photo

Kay and Henry Neuhoff. Pvt photo

You gotta love the Deadwood bathing facilities!


From Yvonne . . ."Dick, This is absolutely GREAT job. Just love it and sent to people on my e-mail list in case they don’t check. The pictures old and new were great. Sorry we lost Coach Burgess, he was a handsome guy right up to the end. I remember the entire 54 season and win very well. Keep up the good work, everyone so appreciates what you do. Yvonne"
From Marge . . .
this was terrific post. won't let me post a comment - this is what I tried to say (twice). you noted living players - where is Woody? How is Tommy Gorder? He was married to my good friend Jeannie Cleveland, who died of an anurysm (sp?) in 1963.
Were we ever this young? This brought back such great memories. Molly, thank you for your efforts, and Dick - great job, as always. The photos are terrific. Can you do a "where are they now" feature? marge

From Marcia Kay . . .
Good Morning, Dick!
Thanks for adding the information about the 1954 Basketball Team + pix, etc.

Thought my grandson would also enjoy looking at the site and would be so pleased to see his grandfather. Grant plays basketball as well and like Gene (did) plays guard. He also shoots from the outside on the right or left as you may remember that was also Gene's favorite place.
Marcia Kay

From Ed Morris . . . I enjoyed the latest piece on the 54 team. The pictures were good as well.

From Woody . . .
HI Dick - Thx for keeping us informed on the news. I am getting it second hand through my evil sisters, Gail and Pat and do appreciate. Cant make it this trip, but if was in the cards I would recommend the Inferno where many of us lost our virginity, in our dreams, of course. Please add Joyce and I to your address book for future info. As I am sure you know that I did, in fact, wed a GOLDDIGGER. Fooled her didnt I.
Woody Williamson

From Peggy Huhta Frank . . . Hi Dick
Good to hear from you!

I can't thank you enough for all the hard work and dedication you have put into the site for all of us!!! You have done such a wonderful job and it is really growing to be such a great place for us to go back and read about DHS and the area!!
I always look forward to the interesting posts there!!

I enjoyed reading about Mr. Krug........I realized how very little I knew about him and Mrs. Krug. I think of kind helpful things that they did for me through the years They were both dedicated and cared about us and the school. We were very fortunate.....and one sees that more and more as the years pass!

Again, thanks,

From Ellen Morris Kenney . . .
Just visited the Blog and saw the neat pictures and read the details about our famous Team of 54. Dad took Mom and me and maybe Gail Williamson to the state tournament. It was a lot of fun and of course we loved it that our team won!! Thanks for the great job you do on the Blog. I'll try to catch it more often. Hope you are both safe this winter. Wondered about you when we heard about the flooding in Washington state. Take care . Ellen

DickD . . . Thanks Yvonne, Marge, Marcia Kay, Ed,Woody, Peggy, Ellen . . .

Note: I think I found the comment problem and solution! If not, please email your comment and I will promptly add them to this article. I really like to hear from everyone anyway!!  DickD


Anonymous said...

Test of Comments. It works for me.

Anonymous said...

Glad to find this site. I attended Deadwood in '53 - '54 in the third grade. My uncle in Lead took me and my cousin to all the games. We listened to the tournament games like it was life or death.

The day after each game, the whole school got to watch a movie of the night before's game. Someone had developed the film and driven it across the state so we could see it. I think our point guard, Billy Jones (?) got knocked out for a little while, but came back in and finished the game.

I kind of remember going down to the Franklin Hotel joining the mob of people who welcomed the victorious team bus.

I still thank Sturgis for upsetting Rapid City and knocking them out of the playoffs. They would have beaten everyone.

Wasn't one of the popular songs at the time "The Whole Town's Talking About the Jones Boy"? All of Deadwood was.

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