Determan reaches 500 career wins: Long-time Burke coach hits milestone in win over KWL

Burke's Ron Determan joined the 500-win club.

The Burke girls basketball team holds up five fingers to celebrate coach Ron Determan's 500th career win on Friday in Kimball. (Courtesy photo)

BURKE -- Ron Determan forgot about the milestone for a minute.

It had been months since the Burke girls basketball team’s last game, and naturally, he’s fixated on winning that night’s game more than where his career record sits. After the Cougars earned a 51-49 comeback win over Kimball/White Lake on Friday, senior Ramee Hanson reminded her coach.

The Cougars are 1-0. And Determan joined the 500-win club.

“During the game, you don’t think about things like that,” Determan said. “... When the game was over, one of the girls said something about it. That’s the first time I’ve even thought about it for quite a while.”

His team commemorated the accomplishment with custom-made shirts that had a team photo on them. As they posed for photos surrounding Determan, they raised all five fingers to signify his win total.


“I’m really happy to be their coach,” Determan said. “I think the world of these girls and some of the things they’ve done throughout the years and their careers. It was fun.”

Determan is one of five girls basketball coaches to surpass 500 wins. Current Aberdeen Central coach Dawn Seiler is the all-time leader with more than 600 wins, while current Hanson coach Jim Bridge has more than 500 wins. Former Parkston coach Rob Van Laecken and former Sioux Falls Roosevelt coach Fred Tibbetts both recorded more than 500 girls basketball wins.

Determan has spent the last 45 seasons coaching high school basketball. He spent his first five years at Geddes, and then with hopes of finding a long-term home, he landed in Burke. He’s been there ever since, coaching the Cougars for the past 40 seasons.

Along with 500 career wins, he also led Burke to its only girls basketball state tournament appearance in 1998. The seventh-place finish is still the moment that stands out most in his coaching career.

On Friday, the wins he’s accumulated over more than four decades were recognized. It took a late fourth-quarter comeback by the Cougars, who trailed by four points late in the game. Led by Sally Hakin and Hanson both scoring 16 points, Burke pulled off the comeback.

“We showed quite a bit more aggressiveness than we did in practice,” Determan said. “We’re not a very big team. If we’re not able to play with some of that intensity and aggressiveness, it’ll probably be a tough night for us.”

Determan doesn’t have a secret formula to how he’s racked up so many wins. He joked that with all the wins, come plenty of losses, too. He simply tries to work hard, and expects his team to do the same.

That hard work has translated to 500 wins.


“I think we’ve had a lot of girls here who’ve given me a lot of effort and played really hard,” Determan said. “It’s pretty easy when you got girls who do that.”

The Cougars travel to Class A No. 1 Winner on Thursday.

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