By Richard Anderson
HOT SPRINGS – Three outstanding athletes and one ground-breaking coach will be inducted into the 2023 Hot Springs High School Athletics Hall of Fame Saturday, Sept. 23 at the American Legion Hall.
Inducted into the eighth class of the Hall of Fame will be wrestler Billy Morrow, all-around athletes Bill “Willie” Marks and Jeff Graf and football, basketball and track coach Dan Lennon.
Marks, a 1970 HSHS graduate, lettered in football twice, basketball twice and track and field four times. He was a member of the Bison undefeated 1968 football team and excelled in basketball and track and field.
In basketball, he is still among the top scorers in Hot Springs history. He averaged 20 points a game in his senior season, which was second in the Black Hills Conference, as he was named all-BHC. He scored 15 points a game in his junior season as a second-team All-BHC performer.
In track and field, Marks placed third in the 880-yard run at the state meet in 1970, which was a HSHS school record. He also was a member of three-record breaking relay teams at the time -- the mile relay, 2-mile relay and sprint medley relay.
Graf, a 1973 graduate, was an outstanding athlete and coach for the Bison, as a four-year letter-winner in football and track and field, and a three-year letter-winner in basketball.
He was named to the Black Hills Conference All-Conference team his last three seasons. In basketball, Graf was named to the BHC honorable mention All-Conference teams his sophomore and juniors seasons.
In track and field, he competed as a hurdler and the discus, as well as the 2-mile run. He also played baseball for the Hot Springs American Legion baseball team that placed second at the state Class B tournament in 1971.
Graf returned to Hot Springs as a coach after completing his football playing career at Northern State University. He continues to teach and coach in Yakima, Wash.
Morrow battled his way to a state champion for the Bison wrestling team in 1996 and was a four-time state place-winner. He finished fourth at the Class A state tournament in 1994, second in 1995 and won the title his junior season at 103 pounds. As a senior, he finished in fourth place.
Morrow finished with a 149-42 overall record.
Lennon was a coach and teacher at Hot Springs from 1937-1943. His football teams finished 40-10-4 in six seasons, including 8-0-1 in the 1938 season and consecutive 8-1 seasons in 1940-1941. The Bison were also 7-1-2 in his final season in 1942.
After he served in the United State Navy, Lennon would go on to coach football at South Dakota School of Mines in 1946 but moving back to his hometown of Vermillion where he was an assistant football coach at the University of South Dakota before becoming the head track and field coach for the Coyotes from 1949.
In 1993 he was inducted into the South Dakota Sports Hall of Fame.
Lennon passed away in 2002 at the age of 94.
Current Hot Springs teacher and boys’ basketball head coach Aaron Noteboom, who has guided the Bison to state tournaments in 2019 and 2023, will be the guest speaker, while longtime former HSHS teacher and coach Brian Thies will emcee the event.
The banquet will conclude the Hot Springs High School football homecoming week as the Bison host Lead-Deadwood Friday, Sept. 22 in the annual homecoming game.
2022 – Athletes Joe Beeler and Cameron Weiss, contributor Joyce Farrell and 1963 football team.
2021 – Athletes Jim Kocer, Kathleen Schjodt and contributor LeRoy Hofer.
2020 – Athletes and coaches Cheryl (Burg) Huddleston, and Kevin Couch, athlete Lisa (Collogan) Starr and 1917 state champion football team.
2019 – Athletes Don Turbiville, David Tays and Mickey Dennis, 1996 and 1997 state champion girls’ track and field teams.
2018 – Athletes Ralph Sieg, Rick Wass and Jackie Dement, coach and administrator H.R. Woodward and undefeated 1967 football team.
2017 -- Athletes James “Duke” Kocer, Barb (Donnell) Highstreet, Pat Weiss and Bud Hamilton.
2016 – Athletes Chet Bruce, Gerald Collogan, Quinten Hofer and Paul Oberpriller, coach/administrators Dave Scott and Jim Tays and 1974 state champion football team.