In Play with Craig Mattick: Jim Dorman
He's a lifelong educator and athletic administrator. A graduate of Castlewood High School, South Dakota State, an athletic director for three different schools, he's been a track and field enthusiast and a member of the Hall of Fame of the South Dakota Interscholastic Athletic Administrators. He's also a longtime board member of the Howard Wood Dakota Relays in Sioux Falls - Jim Dorman.
Craig Mattick: Welcome to another edition of In Play. I'm Craig Mattick. Today's guest has had a lifelong passion for education and athletic administration. A graduate of Castlewood High School, South Dakota State, an athletic director for three different schools, he's been a track and field enthusiast and a member of the Hall of Fame of the South Dakota Interscholastic Athletic Administrators. He's also a longtime board member of the Howard Wood Dakota Relays in Sioux Falls, and joining us today, Jim Dorman. Jim, welcome to In Play.
Jim Dorman: Thanks for inviting me and look forward to a very productive interview and be able to share some of my, not necessarily knowledge of some of the information from my past experiences.
Craig Mattick: The Howard Wood Dakota Relays is always the first weekend in May in Sioux Falls. Jim, you've been on the board for a long time. Have you had a specific job at the relays every year?
Jim Dorman: I've got a couple different jobs. When I originally started, I told Mark Miley that I would really like to clerk the event. For the past 18 years, I've been actually the head clerk. I'm in charge of not only the start clerks but clerk of entries and the finished clerks and oversee all of those. One of the main people that I get a chance to work with is my son, Jason, who actually works as a clerk at the start and does an outstanding job.
Craig Mattick: The Howard Wood Dakota Relays is one of the biggest track meets in the state. In fact, probably the region. 2023 will be the 98th running of the relays in Sioux Falls. More than 3,000 high school athletes. But do you know, Jim, athletes from a number of colleges used to participate in the relays, but not anymore. What happened?
Jim Dorman: The main reason that the college division was eliminated was most of the colleges that committed to coming here didn't bring usually they're better athletes because a lot of times, there were conference meets and qualifying for the NCAA track and field meets. So it just got to the point where I wouldn't say necessarily the quality, but the number of contestants that would come was not increasing, was actually decreasing. So the board had to make a decision of whether or not to eliminate that portion of the relays. It has always been an event that included middle schools from Sioux Falls as well as some of the surrounding area middle schools. Of course, the high school events and then the college events. That's what the main reason for holding the relays was.
But again, the college division was starting to get to the point where there weren't enough athletes competing. So it made our job, as far as clerks, we'd have like three heats set up and by the time we got down to it, there may be two in a heat running against each other. And it's very difficult to change that once it's all set up with three full heats and then ends up being less than eight actually competing in the end. As I was talking about, I've done clerking the events for about 18 years. And the other job that I was making reference to is the past four or five years, I have done the seating. In other words, lining up flights for the field events and lining up the heats and lane assignments.
Craig Mattick: That's a big job with 3,000 athletes involved, Jim.
Jim Dorman: Yeah. But it's a lot of fun. I enjoyed doing that. Like I said, Mark Miley had the confidence in me that he allowed me to work with Bob Jensen for starting to do that. Now we've got Mark Madison joining on board, learning how to do that as well. But yes, it's very tedious, time-consuming. It takes us, by the time we get the entries in at noon, we're usually done about seven o'clock. And what we have done just in the last several years is that we take those entries, send back out to the coaches to review, and then if there's any corrections or things that we missed, we don't do the final pairings or final seating until a couple days afterwards so that we make sure that we don't have to adjust or make those changes the day of the meet.
Craig Mattick: Sure. With the college athletes not involved anymore, did it open up opportunities to bring in more schools from... I know North Dakota and Minnesota, they bring a bunch of kids to Sioux Falls.
Jim Dorman: I think those schools have always been there, but yeah, we've got a lot more North Dakota schools, Minnesota schools. We've even had a couple from Canada come down and participate. With the college events not being at the relays anymore, what it's done is it allowed us not necessarily to add more schools, we can add more schools, but add more participants. In other words, the number of entries per event could be increased. And we started adding different events along the way to try to make it a better meet. Couple years ago, we added the co-ed 4 x 400 meter relay.
Craig Mattick: Very successful.
Jim Dorman: Which has really been a good addition and fun for the kids, fun for the fans to watch. And this year, for the first time, we're going to have the high school distance medley relay. Not exactly sure how many participants we're going to have in that. But what that does is it gives the distance runners something more to participate in. And of course, the distance medley, for those people that might not be familiar with, it's a 400 meter, 800 meter, 1,200 meter and 1,600 meter legs in that relay for two-and-half miles for the relay.
Craig Mattick: That'd be awesome.
Jim Dorman: We're very excited about doing that. Christie Rigger has been a great advocate for the distance runners. And this was one of her ideas that she brought forward and the Board of Directors embraced the idea. So we're going to have that. And we're always looking for additional things that we might add or to improve upon for a better participant and for a better spectator event.
Craig Mattick: Why have the Howard Wood Dakota Relays been so successful now that it's almost 100 years old? Why has it been so successful?
Jim Dorman: I think the biggest thing is that in a normal track meet, being a former track and field coach myself, a lot of those athletes are piled up in the events. In other words, they're entered in almost four events at every meet that they go to regularly. This allows them to come and maybe participate in just one, maybe two or three... There's still some that participate in four, but it's not as intense. It's a competition because most of these schools don't see themselves unless they happen to see each other at the state meet. Some never see the schools from the other states that are surrounding us, North Dakota, Minnesota, Iowa, Nebraska. So it's a chance for them to compete against some of the best in this Midwest region. I think that's why the meet has become or continues to be one of the best events around.
Craig Mattick: Jim, you've been involved with track and field for a long, long time. Did you run track when you were in high school at Castlewood back in the late '60s?
Jim Dorman: Yeah. Actually, I graduated in 1970. You'll probably recognize the name of Dave Proll. He came as a coach and teacher to Castlewood in about 1968. The track program then it was okay, but it wasn't to the caliber that it has been lately. Probably went from about 15 boys out for track. There was no girls' track and field at that time. But he had about 40 to 60 boys out for track and field when he started the program. Unfortunately, he got drafted in service so he wasn't around to able to enjoy the fruits of his labor. But in 1970, we won the state B Boys Track and Field Meet that was held out Rapid City. Of course, that was the first time that any of us had run on an all-weather track. Otherwise, it was all run on a cinder track.
Craig Mattick: The old cinder track. Yeah.
Jim Dorman: We won. Back then, the point system was a little bit different and of course, it didn't take as many points to win a meet. But I anchored the medley relay, we won that. Actually back then, are 4 x 440 for the mile relay, won that. And then Dan Thompson, who I also played football with at South Dakota State won the shotput. And so those three events were enough for us to win the state B Track and Field Meet, which was the first state championship that Castlewood had won. And of course they went on, they won the following year and they won maybe one or two times since then.
Craig Mattick: Were you involved with any field events, Jim?
Jim Dorman: Yes and no. The triple jump started out about that time at the high school level. Since I was an 800 runner, there was the medley and the two-mile relay, which was not contested at a state meet. We had actually the best two mile relay team in the state, but that wasn't a state event at that time. So I tried the triple jump, I also ran the high hurdles as well. Qualified for the state meet in the high hurdles, but that was... it wasn't the best time. And my triple jump, I wouldn't even want to publicize what my school record jump was.
Craig Mattick: Well, remember the time where we ran cinder track and then when it came time for the regions, we would then be on an all-weather track. Of course, you had to have different spikes for your shoes. Maybe you felt the same way, once you ran on that new surface, you felt like you could run 10 miles an hour faster on that track.
Jim Dorman: That's right. It was a lot different surface. And of course, we practiced sometimes and also ran at the track meets up in Watertown on their cinder track. Usually, at that time, if it was rainy, it was muddy and it was messy. And of course, being a hurdler, you really want to make sure you cleared the hurdles because going down in the cinders wasn't a lot of fun. That's why they had spray called Cinder Suds. That was in an aerosol can that they sprayed on those guys that actually fell during those events. They're pretty nasty scars.
Craig Mattick: You graduated from South Dakota State 1975, and your first teaching job was in Hamlin, which of course is not far from Castlewood. I think there's some rivalries between Hamlin and Castlewood. What was it like that first year in Hamlin?
Jim Dorman: There was a lot of rivalry. In fact, some of our friends were upset with us for being there because there was such a rivalry. I went there as a teacher and head football coach at the time. I was there for three years. Then I got out of education and dabbled in a few other things. Was an electrician, plumber, worked at a co-op gas station with farm chemicals and propane furnace repair. Also on the weekends and during the summertime, I worked with the REA as a high power energy lineman. So I had quite a varied experience.
And after 10 years, then I got back into education, got my former job back at Hamlin. At that time, they were looking for a track and field coach. I was the assistant football coach under Arlin Likness at the time and then was the head track and field coach. And of course, that's when Wayne Carney was there as the basketball coach. We had a pretty successful athletic program at Hamlin during those years.
Craig Mattick: But you're a football coach coming right out of college. What was that first year like as the football coach?
Jim Dorman: It was nuts because I was still working in the summertime at construction, so I didn't have a whole lot of time to prepare. At that time, we only had one assistant coach so it was just the two of us. Hamlin at that time had three different elementaries and three different junior highs. So it was very difficult to really know what was going on with the programs at the junior highs. There weren't a lot of little athletes to be able to go around those programs. And at the junior high, of course, they played 9-man football and we were playing 11-man football so the carryover wasn't quite there.
Being fresh and a new assistant coach, it was fun but it was challenging at the same time. Basically, I used the same programs that I had at South Dakota State University, ran the same offense. And of course, I was a defensive back at South Dakota State so I was more in tuned into running the defense than I was the offense. But it worked out pretty well. For the three years that I was the head coach there, we improved our record and ended up winning the conference in 1979, which was the Old Lake Central Conference. What was funny is back then, the coaches had a lot to do with the scheduling of the contest. So we were looking for some games, and of course, Les Tuma was the head coach at Brookings, they needed an extra game and so did we. So we actually played at Brookings. Didn't come out on top, of course, but we pretty much held our own during that time.
Craig Mattick: You became the athletic director at Hamlin. You did that for about three years or so?
Jim Dorman: Yep. For the last three years that I was there, when Wayne Carney left, John Rasmussen came in as the head boys' basketball coach, and he had been an athletic director before that, I believe. Not sure if it was South Shore... I know he was at South Shore but I'm not sure he was the athletic director there. But I do know he was the athletic director at Redfield before he came to Hamlin. Then he want to be able to concentrate more on the boys' basketball program. Knowing that I had been working quite a bit at Hamlin, he resigned that position and then they hired me and that's where I got my start.
Wayne Carney mentored me along the way. Then when I moved into Madison in 2000, Mike Anderson encouraged me to apply for that job. I had just finished up my master's degree. That's where I got involved with the National Athletic Directors Association because Mike was the state secretary and suggested that I take that position. I took that over in 2000 and still, 23 years later, the executive director for the State Athletic Directors.
Craig Mattick: What's a whole new ballgame... When you're talking about being a football coach or a basketball coach and then eventually, you're the athletic director or the activities director, whatever they call it today, what was the scope like for you going from a coach to an administrator in athletics in the state?
Jim Dorman: Well, it was a transition process because I was still teaching halftime, I was still coaching track and I was the athletic director. Probably, I don't know, 30% of my duties were athletic director. So it was mostly scheduling contests, hiring officials, ordering equipment, uniforms. It wasn't a whole lot of evaluating those coaches when I first started. When I went to Madison, then I went there as the athletic administrator and activities director as well as assistant principal. So having my administrative degree then allowed me to do more with evaluation of coaches and working with facilities a little bit more.
Craig Mattick: So that was probably your biggest difference being the AD at Madison when you compared it to Hamlin?
Jim Dorman: Correct. Yeah. It was about, like I said, 30%, 40% athletic director. I always enjoyed teaching but still missed it when I moved to Madison, also moved to Sioux Falls, Lincoln. So that's why when I did retire, I went back and substitute taught in the science and math departments at Lincoln.
Craig Mattick: As an activities director or athletic director, however we want to use that title, how difficult is it balancing the sports activities to the fine arts activities?
Jim Dorman: Well, for me, it wasn't very difficult because I worked under Val Fox, the principal at Lincoln High School, who was very involved in the fine arts. Not that she didn't understand sports, but she'd be the first to admit that she had limited knowledge of athletics. She relied upon me to basically take care of the athletic and then in turn, she would work with the fine arts and supervision of the fine arts events. Now, I helped her with the evaluations of the fine arts programs. Didn't have a whole lot of time to do those but I still had to schedule all of their practices, all of their events. I had to be pretty much involved with the fine arts directors in that way. But as far as supervising events and about half of the evaluations, Val really helped me out a lot in that respect. I don't know how that works in the other schools, of course, I've only been at Lincoln in those capacities, but that's what made my job very easy.
Craig Mattick: It was a sized jump when you went from Hamlin to Mitchell. What about the jump from Mitchell to Sioux Falls, Lincoln? What was your biggest thing that you saw when you went to Lincoln?
Jim Dorman: We'll go back a little bit. I was at Madison. I went from Hamlin to Madison. When I went from Hamlin to Madison, there were about 250 students in high school at Hamlin and when I went to Madison, there was 500. So the size of the community and the size of the school was about school is twice as big as the one I had been at. So that means you got twice as many probably athletes and fine arts. They even had some of the fine arts and some athletics that I hadn't had at Hamlin. Hamlin didn't have gymnastics, Madison had an outstanding gymnastics team. That had a lot to do with Linda Collignon who was going to be inducted in the South Dakota Sports Hall of Fame this September.
And her husband, John Collignon was a great help. He was my assistant AD. Kind of gave me the knowledge and the background of Madison as far as the community and as a school and as athletic program. So he was a great help. Without him, I probably wouldn't have been as successful or had as good of a tenure at Madison as I did. Then of course, I go for Madison, which was about 500 students in high school to Sioux Falls, Lincoln which had 2,000. So quadrupling the number of students. Of course, the coaching staff were larger, participated in every athletic and fine arts activities that the state offers.
I had to come up to speed on... of course, at Madison I learned gymnastics, learned wrestling, then tennis as well. And of course, when I went to Lincoln, then I had a little bit of knowledge of those. But it relied upon the coaches to educate me as far as what those different sports that I hadn't been associated with in the past were like, and what they needed. So it was a challenge, but yet I tell people, they say, "You moved to Sioux Falls, Lincoln, it had to really be a lot more work." And I said, "Actually, it was less work." Because like I told you, in Madison I was the athletic director, the activities director, but I was also an assistant principal in charge of attendance and discipline and busing and lunchroom.
And middle school, I had to schedule all my middle school events, I had to schedule all the officials for middle school, high school. When I got Sioux Falls, Lincoln, of course, then I didn't have any middle school. I had an assigner who assigned basketball officials both lower level and the varsity sport. So you can see why that would be a little bit less of a burden. Plus when you needed some help or some expertise at that time, there were two other athletic directors in Sioux Falls at the public schools, as well as an athletic coordinator, Mark Miley. Really, moving to Lincoln was less work than it was when I came to Madison. Not saying that there wasn't a lot of things to be done, but it was just that the responsibilities were less.
Craig Mattick: When you talk about evaluation of coaches, how do athletic directors evaluate coaches? And is it done every year?
Jim Dorman: The first year coaches, if I remember correctly, I have to be evaluated every year for the first two years. Then after that, they'd go on a three-year cycle. The way I evaluated was I did more walkthroughs, I'd go out to practices because then you can kind of see more what's going on, how the program is running, how the coaches interact with the athletes, how they supervise their assistant coaches. You really can't or I don't think you can evaluate coaches simply by the game nights, the event nights. You do that, you use that but I think the biggest picture that you can get of a coach is how they're working with the athletes during practices. I would always make it non-threatening by just walking through.
I'd find a time when the coach had a little bit of time and I just ask them questions about how things were going and if they needed anything. I'd spent maybe five to 10 minutes. I didn't want to disrupt their practices. But that was the way that I evaluated the coaches. Then of course, you had to go through a formal evaluation, but basically asked the coaches how they felt that their season went and things that they felt that they could improve upon. And then I had more or less talk about the things that I saw that were positive. I think it worked out well, and I think if you asked the coaches that I had the opportunity to work with, they liked it that way.
Craig Mattick: You were on the Advisory Committee for the South Dakota High School Activities Association for track and for cross-country. During your time there, what were some of the issues that you had to face when it came to track and cross-country?
Jim Dorman: Well, there's always changes or things that need to be looked at. I found out that the biggest thing that you're looking at is to make things fair and enjoyable for the student athletes. Sometimes committee members get on there and they have a personal reason. They've got something that they think that would suit their school or their athletes and not take a look at the big picture on how it affected the whole state. That even still happens today. But by and large, most of them that are on those committees are doing it for the better interest of the students.
There are always things changing. We had the pole vault controversy where some of the schools are wondering if we should get rid of pole vault altogether. Then of course, with the addition of pole vault for the girls really solidified keeping pole vault. Which the biggest argument was there were a lot of schools that didn't have pole vault, didn't have the facilities, didn't have a qualified coach. So they just felt that at their conference meet, their region meets and even the state somewhat, that they'd be losing team points because not being able to have pole vaulting. So they then figured the other schools that had pole vault should have it to basically start out the meet with a huge lead.
The problem I had with that was when I was at Hamlin, we didn't have a lot of distance runners. It'd be like me asking them, "Well, let's eliminate the 3,200 meter run because there's a lot of schools that don't have 3,200 meter runners." And that logic just didn't seem to make sense. Even though I didn't have pole vaults, I didn't feel that we should eliminate that as an event. And of course, now, with bringing javelin in to the state, and I know South Dakota is one of the last states to actually have javelin in their track and field meets, that's been a big improvement because it gives the throwers another event if they choose to or are good at it, can participate in. Rather than just having two events like they've had in the past.
Craig Mattick: Jim, I've been following high school sports in South Dakota since the late '70s and I've seen the job the athletic directors are doing. I don't think folks know the hours they put in. A ton of hours during the school year, being at all of the sporting events, being at the fine arts events. How did you do it, Jim?
Jim Dorman: Well, the joke always was is I get there at 7:30 in the morning and then about 3:30, I'd walk out and I'd say to secretaries, "Well, I'm going up to my second job. My next eight hours." So usually put in 7:30 until 10 o'clock at night sometimes. Of course, it wasn't every night, but quite a bit. Somebody who goes into athletic administration, you know what going... So if you can't make that time commitment, I mean, it didn't seem like it was that long. It just didn't because mostly, athletic directors are very passionate and really enjoy working with athletes.
And of course, you notice I call them student athletes because when I think back to my interview when I came to Lincoln, I told them, "Athletics is my life. It's been my background. I'm applying for a position that's not only athletics but fine arts as well." What I said my main objective is they're students first. Student athletes is a very well-used phrase to describe them because without the academics, there would be no athletics. I think a lot of the athletic directors feel the same way.
You take a look at the small school athletic directors, all the way up to the largest schools like I was at, there are very different ways that those positions are. In a lot of the smaller schools, you could be the superintendent, K12 principal and the athletic director. There's several of them like that. Or you could be the principal or you could be a guidance counselor and the athletic director. You could be coaching three sports and be the athletic director. It's very different depending upon what school you're in. But all in general, you have to give the time commitment that it requires. And the way they go about doing their job, of course, has to be different because the time management is so much different between those various sized schools.
But as the state association, we have a very good network of small school ADs, medium-sized schools and large schools that work together very well and have a very strong state association. Also, we are involved in the national quite a bit. Joey Struwe is now going to be retiring but he is on the National Professional Development Team at the national level. We have several National Committee members. I just started my first year on the National Board of Directors and we'll have a three-year term that I will be serving on. So very excited about looking forward to doing that as well.
Craig Mattick: Are we preparing today's activities directors for this job?
Jim Dorman: Yeah. We just got done having our spring conference up here last week. We changed the emphasis a little bit this year. In the past, we spent the majority of our time looking at the various proposals that came out of the Advisory Committees from the Activities Association. Discussing those, debating those, and then voting on those as recommendations to their Board of Directors that they elect on in April. This year, several of our athletic directors, board members felt that we should try to do some more with professional development. And so a greater percentage of the time spent at the conference was on professional development leadership training courses.
The National Athletic Directors Association has Leadership Training Institute, which are courses that have been written by and taught by athletic directors that are actually out in the field. So those courses are very pertinent to what athletic directors do. They can take those courses along with other professional development that we offer. It's the nuts and bolts. But 60 different courses have been developed and it's the only or was the only non-educational based organization that was actually nationally certified. We can offer college credits and...
Craig Mattick: We just don't want to burn them out. We don't want to burn out.
Jim Dorman: Yeah. But when we get the evaluations back from those courses, those athletic directors that have participated in that couldn't believe all the information and helpful hints and things that they got. Another thing that we just started a couple years ago is Julie Eppard from Chester took over or started actually our mentoring program. We line up a new athletic director or an athletic director with fewer years of being an athletic director with an athletic director that has more experience. That mentoring program has continued to grow and so the professional development, the mentoring, the certification that a person can get is very well-received by a large portion of our athletic directors.
Craig Mattick: 2016, Jim, you decide to retire at Sioux Falls, Lincoln. How come? What were you thinking? What was going on?
Jim Dorman: What was I thinking? It was time. I just felt that it was getting to the point where the same way with coaching, you know when it's time to go. Things start bothering you a little bit more, the phone calls and some of the issues. And in the day-to-day grind of everything, just got to the point where it wasn't as fun. It was still fun but it wasn't as fun as it had been. As you probably know, I was not only the executive director of the State Athletic Directors Association, but since 2007 had been the executive director of the South Dakota High School Coaches Association and its 1,500 members. Took over for Jerome Garry who had taken over for Max Hawk. That takes quite a bit of my time.
And then about four or five years ago, the South Dakota Sports Hall of Fame was in need of an executive director so they asked me if I would do that. The joke always was, with my family when I came home from a meeting or a conference, they says, "Well, what did you volunteer for now?" But I feel giving back through athletics the things that it has given to me, it's just one of those things that is fulfilling. It's the same way with these leadership training courses. A lot of people don't understand that the faculty that teaches these courses, they don't get paid. They volunteer their time to teach those things. There's a lot of volunteerism and servant leadership that really has fulfilled what I have done and what I'm doing now.
Craig Mattick: Just last year, you get inducted into the South Dakota Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Hall of Fame. First of all, what does the SDIAAA do?
Jim Dorman: That is the organization that works with and for the athletic directors. Like I said, we put on a conference every spring where we, again, go through the sport proposals, make recommendations to the activities association, provides professional development at the conference plus we have several times throughout the year where we offer these courses as well. It recognizes athletic director for their achievements and we recognize them on both the state and national level.
I was inducted last year or two years ago into the State Athletic Directors Hall of Fame. And then this past December was inducted into the National Athletic Directors Hall of Fame, the second South Dakotan to do that. Steve Berseth who was an outstanding professional got leadership training and professional development started in the state of South Dakota. He was inducted into the National Hall of Fame several years ago. So I was fortunate enough to become the second inductee from the state.
Craig Mattick: So how did you hear from them that you were going into the Hall of Fame?
Jim Dorman: Get notified from the national executive director. There's a method, and I had to fill out a form to... When the state nominates you for that, you fill out a form, send in to the national office, and then they evaluate it, and you're in the pool of candidates for three years, and then we can renominate somebody. But you stay in the pool for three years and then you either get a letter that says you were not chosen or you are chosen. Now, this year-
Craig Mattick: It's not like the Hall of Fame in football where they knock on your door at your house to let you know you're in.
Jim Dorman: This year, the two guys that have been very instrumental in helping me with the state association are Bill Clements from Dakota Valley and Joey Struwe, of course, who is at Sioux Falls, Lincoln and is retiring this year.
Craig Mattick: That's crazy.
Jim Dorman: It's even hard to express how much they have done for me in helping me with the organization. But realizing that I just got done a couple years ago going through pancreatic cancer treatment and hosted a national conference or national summit the year that I was going through that. Those two guys really stepped up and helped out. Joey Struwe is now our National Hall of Fame nominee, and so his name is in the pool. Bill Clements will be probably our next nominee for that.
Craig Mattick: Jim, I've got two more questions for you. How are you feeling today and what keeps you busy now that you're retired?
Jim Dorman: Feeling really good. I have checkups every three months. I do a CAT scan. I feel very fortunate that we caught it early and that the treatment went well. Every three months for a year, I'll be doing CAT scans. Then after that, about every six months up to about five years, they'll continue to check. But I feel good. Of course, can tell that because I'm still active in these organizations going places. Being able to enjoy watching my grandkids in sports. The oldest granddaughter is high jumping at Belmont University in Nashville. We've gotten to see her jump a couple times indoors. Most of her meets are televised so we get a chance to do that without actually being there.
Then her three siblings, set of twins, Kasen and Gavin will be graduating this year. Kasen was a football player on Hamlin's team. They go to Hamlin. Gavin is on the track and field team. Ellyana, the youngest one, was out for track as well. So we get a chance to watch them. Then we have two granddaughters that actually live here in Sioux Falls with us. One just started middle school and one's in the third grade.
Craig Mattick: That's enough to keep you busy there, Jim.
Jim Dorman: So that keeps us hopping. As far as what keeps me busy, well, the athletic directors, the coaches and South Dakota Sports Hall of Fame keep me busy, keep me active, keep me in touch with the people that I really enjoy being in contact with. Being the executive director has allowed me to, even though I've been retired now for seven years, just about allows me to stay in contact with those people that have had a chance to work with.
Craig Mattick: I'm going to rack your brain for your final question. You've been to so many track meets over the years and you've been involved with the Howard Wood Dakota Relays over the years. Has there been any event over the years that just still stands out for you that you were there, you saw a great performance? Maybe it was a record breaking event or just a gutty performance. Is there one or two big track events that stand out saying, "Hey, I was there when this happened?"
Jim Dorman: Well, myself, I've had five individual state champions and I've had eight different relays that I've coached that were state champions. Probably the biggest thing is being able to coach and teach my three children. Sonny is the oldest and she was on a state championship, 4 x 400 meter relay team. My two sons, Jason and JD, both of which were at Dakota Relays, I got to coach them. They're different in the fact that one was more of a middle distance runner and the other one was more of a hurdler and field events person. Those are some of the things that I really remember. I know one of the events or one of the things that I had happen is when I went to Madison, Jerome Garry asked me if I would help with the hurdles and then later on with their sprint or all their relays. Sprint relays, more or less.
So every year that I was at Madison, I coached either a boys or girls relay team to a state championship. The last one that I had was the girls 4 x 2, I believe it was. Bud Postness two daughters were on that team along with Grace Hatting. I can't remember the fourth one. I shouldn't do that. Katie Darling, I believe. Anyway, they won the gold medal at the state track meet. That was a highlight. Probably the thing now, though, that I've really been following and has really been fun to watch is Gracelyn Leiseth, the shot putter, the thrower from Hamlin, who at Dan Lennon threw the shot put and is number one in the nation right now. I believe she threw it just about as far as she threw it last year when she set the all time state record outdoors and was number one in the rankings at that time.
So I'm really, I got a chance to talk to her just the other day when they had an indoor meet at South Dakota State. And had a chance to meet with her and talk with her. She's just the sweetest girl you could ever ask for. She comes from a great family. So eager to watch what she does this final year of her high school career. And of course, she's going on to the University of Florida. I would dare say that we'll probably be hearing about her when we get to the Olympics at some point in time. That's what I'm looking forward to.
Craig Mattick: If you like what you're hearing, please give us a five star review wherever you get your podcasts. Programs such as this are only possible through the continued support of our listeners like you. For South Dakota Public Broadcasting, I'm Craig Mattick. Join us again on the next episode of In Play.