The South Dakota Football Coaches Association recently honored Gary Culver, head football coach at Vermillion High School, with a 30-year football coaching award at halftime of the South Dakota All-Star football game held in Aberdeen on July 26. Honored along with Culver were Jim Holderby (Amour-Tripp-Delmont), Ken Bruckner (Menno), Jon Mitchell (Parkston) and Allen Wier (Platte).
Culver, the all-time winningest coach at Vermillion High School, will begin his 31st year at the helm of the Tanager football program as they begin preparations this fall for their home opener with Madison on Aug. 24. He has lead the Tanagers to five state championships (1990, 1991, 1992, 1995 and 1999), one state runner-up (1981), 10 regional championships and 12 Big Eight Conference championships during his tenure.
Culver, with an overall record of 183-118 (.608 pct.) and a playoff record of 37-17 (.685 pct.) ranks third on the all-time career coaching record list among active coaches in South Dakota. Steve Kueter (Webster, Sioux Falls O'Gorman) and Arlin Likness (Hamlin, Yankton) rank first and second, respectively, among active coaches. Culver ranks 13th on the all-time career coaching record list in South Dakota. Max Hawk, longtime coach at Scotland and Yankton, leads the list with a 284-72-2 overall career record. Hawk retired after the 1994 season after 38 years of coaching.
"I'm certainly honored by this longevity award presented by the SDFBCA. It's always a privilege to be recognized by a group of your peers in this business of coaching. This award is really a reflection of the outstanding student-athletes I've had the opportunity to coach at Vermillion High School as well as a tremendous group of assistant coaches I've been blessed to have on my staff through the years. Also, the great support from the administration, school board, community, and my family have played a huge role in my tenure in the Tanager football program. I really want to extend my sincere appreciation to everyone for this award," said Culver.