The South Dakota Intercollegiate Conference and its history has been in cobwebs for the last two decades.
But that hasn’t stopped those most passionate about its history from trying to bring it back into the light.
“We don’t want the SDIC to be lost to history, we don’t want it to fade away,” said Myron Moen, of Brookings. “There’s too many great players who played in the conference that should be remembered.”
Moen has helped create the SDIC Men’s Basketball Hall of Fame, which will be formalized with its inaugural class on Wednesday, Oct. 27 in Mitchell.
Among the events includes a social and a 3 p.m. induction ceremony at Mitchell Wesleyan Church, followed by the inductees being honored at halftime of the DWU-Dakota State men’s basketball game, which starts at 7 p.m. Wednesday at the Corn Palace.
The hall of fame is starting as an extension of the conference’s original hall of fame, which honored players from all sports over the conference’s 83-year history until it ceased operations at the end of the 1999-2000 season, giving way to the Great Plains Athletic Conference and the defunct Dakota Athletic Conference.
Moen said he sorted through the roughly 110 members of the original SDIC hall of fame to find the 30 basketball players who will be honored at the start.
The honorees in the inaugural class include (listed with their year of gradation): Cliff Anderson, Dakota State, 1973; Joe Divis, Black Hills State, 1994; Jack Ecklund, Huron College, 1952; Darrell Eisenbraun, Huron College, 1965; DuWayne Groos, Northern State, 1965; Chad Kramer, South Dakota Tech, 1997; Alan Miller, Dakota Wesleyan, 1985; Scott Morgan, Dakota Wesleyan, 1993; Brett Schwartz, Dakota State, 1991; Mitch Slusarski, South Dakota Tech, 1994; Gene Smith, Huron College, 1952; and Jim Van Gerpen, USD-Springfield, 1973.
“A lot of really incredible players and some great games in that era,” said Moen, who noted that today's players are more athletic but believes many of the top players from past eras could play in the modern game.
The conference was created in 1917 in Mitchell, with six schools: Dakota Wesleyan, Huron College, South Dakota Tech, Sioux Falls, Northern State University and Yankton College. Over the years, Augustana, Black Hills State, Dakota State and the University of South Dakota-Springfield were among the other notable members of the conference, which was known as the South Dakota-Iowa Intercollegiate Conference in its final years after it welcomed Dordt and Westmar colleges in Iowa.
Nearly all of the living honorees are expected to be on hand, Moen said. (Ecklund and Van Gerpen are deceased.)
Moen, who played on the legendary 1963 state championship team at Sisseton and later at General Beadle College (now known as Dakota State) as one of the top shooters in the NAIA, said he got to know many of the players while he was a student. He said people he talks to today don’t know much about the SDIC.
“When the conference ended, nobody really recognizes where it all started, and that was here in Mitchell,” he said. “We owe a lot of the history of the conference to the coaches and the folks here at Dakota Wesleyan.”
Long-term, Moen said it is his hope that there would be a permanent display created to honor the inductees on the campus of one of the primary SDIC institutions.
Moen has experience honoring South Dakota’s basketball past, creating the South Dakota High School Basketball Hall of Fame that inducted its first class in 2010. He said he would like to have women’s SDIC players honored.
“There’s still a lot of great players that can go into this hall of fame and be honored,” Moen said.