Scholarship established in honor of USD's 1958 championship team An endowed scholarship has been established in honor of The University of South Dakota 1958 Men's National Championship Basketball Team.
The scholarship was announced during the 40-year reunion of the team, held during USD's Dakota Days homecoming on Friday, Sept. 25.
The scholarship, endowed through The University of South Dakota Foundation, was established by June and Lyle Wagner of Vermillion. The scholarship also honors all of the outstanding athletes who have participated in basketball, football and track on behalf of USD.
The 1958 Coyote basketball team was the first North Central Conference team ever to win a national championship in any sport. Members of the team also won the NCC in 1957 and finished second in the conference in 1956.
The Wagners, who created the scholarship, are both USD alumni. June Woodward Wagner, originally of Brentford, graduated from USD in 1957 with a bachelor of science degree in education. Lyle Wagner, originally of Elk Point, earned a BSBA in 1954 from the USD School of Business.
The endowment will fund scholarships in three categories — men's basketball, football and men's track. The head coach in each sport will select recipients.
The scholarships are named "The June and Lyle Wagner Endowed Men's Basketball Scholarship, in honor of the 1958 men's national championship basketball team," "The June and Lyle Wagner Endowed Football Scholarship," and "The June and Lyle Wagner Endowed Men's Track Scholarship."
The mission of the USD Foundation is to provide private financial resources for the university in order to increase the excellence of the educational experience provided by USD, with the goal of creating the best small public university in the nation, emphasizing excellence in teaching.
The USD Foundation has over $50 million in assets as a result of generous gifts and bequests from alumni and friends of USD. Last year, the USD Foundation granted more that $1.5 million in scholarships, about $1.1 million for sport of the academic departments of the university and over $540,000 for capital projects and equipment.
New endowments for scholarships or other purposes that benefit the university may be created within the USD Foundation for as little as $5,000, contributed over two years.