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Parkston's Van Laecken to receive NIAAA State Award of Merit

PARKSTON -- Rob Van Laecken may be retiring but he is not going out without a bang.

The outgoing Trojan athletic director was awarded the National Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association State Award of Merit.

“It comes from your peers and other ADs. It’s pretty special when it comes from them,” Van Laecken said Friday. “I never thought I would get something like that. It’s a very nice honor.”

Van Laecken will be presented the award by the South Dakota Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association during the state conference for athletic administrators Wednesday at The Lodge in Deadwood. This award is provided annually for recognition of meritorious dedication to high school and middle school athletics.

From 1977 to 2014, Van Laecken coached Parkston basketball, where he accrued 593 wins and became the winningest high school girls basketball coach in the state. Van Laecken serves on the basketball advisory board and was honored as the Athletic Director of the Year in 1996 and 1997.

“I’ve enjoyed all of the student athletes who’ve gone through here,” Van Laecken. “I’ve enjoyed the coaches we’ve had here. We’ve been fortunate to have really good student athletes. They’re not only special on the field or court but in the classroom. It’s been a lot of good times and memories.”