The beginning of every Northern State University fall semester is always kicked off with football, and one of the most important people in the history of NSU football is Clark Swisher.
After having spent four years in the U.S. Army during World War II, Clark Swisher joined the NSC (Northern State College) staff in 1946 as head coach in football, basketball, tennis, golf, and track and field. This is a pretty busy schedule for any person, and after a couple of years other coaches took over all of the sports except football. Then, in 1968, Coach Swisher retired and became the NSC athletic director, and he still held this position when the new Swisher Field was dedicated to him on September 10th, 1976. With a football coaching history constituted of 146 wins, 42 losses, and 4 ties as well as 4 perfect seasons and a 3 time selection as South Dakota’s college coach of the year, he was more than worthy of the honor bestowed upon him.
Four years after the dedication of the 6,000 seat Clark Swisher Field, NSC decided to dedicate their 1980 Gypsy Days to their beloved athletic director, and shortly thereafter he announced his retirement. Clark Swisher, however, was always involved in sports, and he continued to be active in NSC athletics for years to come. He was also a member of the U.S. Olympic Committee from 1975-1984, and he did a stint as the president of the NAIA (National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics).
It is needless to say that when Clark Swisher passed away in 2005, Aberdeen and NSU mourned his loss. There remains, however, a new $3.2 million football-track-soccer Clark Swisher Athletic complex that was dedicated in the same year of his passing, and it continues to serve as a reminder to Clark Swisher’s great legacy in the sports world.
(Left photo:Northern State University football coaches. L-R: Fred Drews, Bill Jordan, Clark Swisher, Bob Wachs, Don Woods.)
(Right Photo: Coach Swisher, Bob Miller and Junior Pereboom getting ready on runners starting blocks.)