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Sully Buttes to honor Mark Senftner with naming of its new court

Mark S Sully Buttes.jpg
Craig Wollman
/
South Dakota Public Broadcasting

Sully Buttes high school has announced a renovation plan for its gymnasium, which includes a newly designed basketball floor. The school has said it will name the court after legendary high school coach Mark Senftner, who passed away this past October after a battle with brain cancer.

Senftner coached girls basketball and football for the Chargers. In girls hoops, he led the Chargers to state championships in 2007, 2008, 2016, and 2017. Chloe Lamb, who went on to have a top tier playing career at the University of South Dakota, played high school ball under Senftner.

In football, he led the Chargers to state championship game appearances in 2015 for Class 9A, and then led them back to the dome in 2017 and 2018 in Class 9B. While they didn’t win a state title during Senftner’s time, the Chargers were consistently competitive and always a tough team to play come playoff time. Senftner won 101 games in 14 seasons coaching football, a winning percentage of nearly 71%.

“As a coach, he was extremely successful, and as a person and an educator, he was just as successful,” stated Sully Buttes athletic director and head boys basketball coach Brian White. “He was an outstanding educator and teacher to teach life lessons, and he really meant a lot to all of us in our community, and we really want to see his legacy live on.”

Senftner’s connection to basketball was clear. After all, he led the Chargers girls team to the state tournament eleven times in seventeen years. Senftner had many friendships and connections within the high school basketball circle of South Dakota. At the 2021 state ‘B’ basketball tournaments, a few months after his diagnosis, countless people wore shirts with ‘Team Senftner #SenftnerStrong’ on them to show their support to Mark.

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Craig Wollman
/
South Dakota Public Broadcasting

“He’s one of the all-time great girls basketball coaches in the state of South Dakota,” White said. “It felt like he was in the state tournament every single year with teams, and some teams were incredibly talented, and other teams he found ways to get them there.”

In all, the renovation, which will include a new court, new scoreboards, fresh paint, updated ventilation for heat and AC, will cost around $140,000. The process will begin at the conclusion this year’s basketball season and continue throughout the summer. Scheduled completion is prior to the start of the 2023-24 school year.

“We just wanted to make sure that when we announced this and when we decided to name the court after Coach Senftner, that we did it right,” explained White. “We didn’t want to slap it on [the court] quickly, because Coach Senftner is such a big part of our community, will always be a big part of our community, and his family is a big part of our community.”

Sully Buttes New Court.jpg
Sully Buttes High School

Nate Wek is currently the sports content producer and sports and rec beat reporter for South Dakota Public Broadcasting. He is a graduate of South Dakota State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Journalism Broadcasting and a minor in Leadership. From 2010-2013 Nate was the Director of Gameday Media for the Sioux Falls Storm (Indoor Football League) football team. He also spent 2012 and 2013 as the News and Sports Director of KSDJ Radio in Brookings, SD. Nate, his wife Sarah, and two kids Braxan and Jordy, live in Canton, SD.