VHS Tanager’s Ruminations

VHS Tanager's Ruminations By Jim Prosser Having completed the series of articles on Tanager "perfect" football seasons, this writer needed a couple of weeks to search the Vermillion High School archives, former coaches and athletic directors memories, and finally, peruse the microfilm pages of the editions of the Plain Talk in order to describe the "perfect" regular basketball season for the 1976-77 school year.

Before introducing the team members and the schedule information, I need to request a moment of personal privilege to give a little preliminary introduction to a young man who was an integral part of this story. While I was in the recovery ward at the Mayo Clinic, after throat surgery, one of the first get well cards I received (along with a nice note wishing me success) was from a former student at VHS, some 20 years ago. You may have seen his name in the credits for the technical staff members on Sioux City TV stations' newscasts � Jon Beringer.

My association with Jon was mostly in dealing with the score-keeping and statistics for the basketball team during the winning '76-'77 season, because he was the student manager and the high school sports reporter for the Plain Talk. His consideration for my well-being touched me deeply and I did not forget it.

Jon is presently employed by the City of Sioux City in several capacities.

As I prepared to use the microfilm viewer I encountered Jon's byline on the basketball reports and I am using many of his ideas and/or words to describe the happenings and stats in several games in the next few articles.

Now, one more preliminary matter is an explanation of the Class A and Class B schools in 1976. The first 32 schools (in enrollment) were Class A schools. This meant that VHS, with about 500 students, would play mostly larger enrollment schools in basketball. In today's classification, the Tanagers were facing 10 AA schools, six A, and one B in their 17-game regular season schedule.

Here is the team roster for the Tanager "perfect" 1976-77 season:

Seniors Steve Renner and Scott Wagner, co-captains, Barry Baker, Blaze Okerlund, Doug Martin, Kevin Iverson, Todd Bye, and Calvin Johnson; Juniors Dan GoBell, Brad and Mark Martin, and Duane Johnson; and sophomore Kevin Seibel. The team manager was Jon Beringer, assistant coach was Al Rops, and head coach was Jay Hennies.

The schedule started with four straight home games, followed by five straight away games.

In my next article I will cover the highlights and statistical data from those first nine games.

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