Sully Buttes coach diagnosed with brain tumor: Senftner to miss Dec. 21 game

Tumor revealed after accidentally being struck in the head by a soccer ball

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Sully Buttes coach Mark Senftner was recently diagnosed with a brain tumor

Mark Senftner has won hundreds of games coaching basketball and football.

The Sully Buttes coach and teacher now faces his toughest challenge off the court.

After accidentally being struck in the head by a soccer ball in gym glass, he suffered a seizure and was taken to the hospital. The diagnosis was a brain tumor, Senftner revealed to KCCR in Pierre.

“What we found out is that I have a brain tumor on the left side of my brain,” Senftner wrote in an email to his fellow teachers. “The accidental hit with the soccer ball that day was how it was found. The blessing in disguise.”

Senftner still coached the Chargers during their first two games this year. He will be on the bench for tonight’s game against Lyman, but will step aside before Sully Buttes’ next game against Aberdeen Roncalli on Dec. 21.


It will be the first game he’s missed as a coach during his 35-year tenure, which has also included stops in Roscoe, Gregory and Timber Lake. Senftner will be examined on Dec. 21 at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota.

He’s not sure when he’ll return to the court or classroom, but he’s staying optimistic through it all.

“I am choosing to stay positive and hoping for the best case scenario,” Senftner wrote in his email.

Senftner has won four girls basketball state championships and taken the Chargers to three state football championship games. Assistant coach Susie Rilling will serve as head coach in Senftner’s absence.

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