Author Archives: John Thayer

About John Thayer

Son. Brother. Uncle. Friend. Baseball umpire. Broadcaster.

South Dakota at Kansas State

KSU vs USDThe season opener is here for the South Dakota football team as they travel to Kansas State for the season opener. The Coyotes won eight games last season and advanced to the FCS playoffs for the first time in program history.

Tonight the Coyotes open the season in Manhattan for the second time in four years. The Wildcats blanked the Coyotes 34-0 in 2015. Kansas State won eight games last season but finished the year winning five of their final six games.

Here is a collection of conversations throughout the week talking South Dakota and Kansas State.

South Dakota head football coach Bob Nielson talks about where his team is heading into the season opener and what the Coyotes expect from Kansas State.

Voice of the Coyotes Joe Van Goor talks about the season opener.

Jay Elsen of Midco Sports shares his thoughts entering the season opener.

Mick Garry of the Argus Leader says the QB position is one area he will be watching for South Dakota.

Kansas State Wildcats radio play-by-play voice Wyatt Thompson talks about the Cats leading up to the season opener.

John Kurtz, KMAN radio host, shares his thoughts on Kansas State entering the season.

Kickoff tonight is set for 6:00pm at Bill Snyder Family Stadium. You can listen to the action on the Coyote Sports Network.

Tune in to the USD Tailgate Show starting at 4:00pm on Classic Hits 106.3 in the Yankton/Vermillion area, kvhtradio.com or the TuneIn Radio app (search KVHT).

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Kevan Hueftle chasing dream of running for Team USA

kevan hueftleSometimes in life some of the things we love the most change our lives forever. It can be for better or for worse, depending how you react to the situation. A high school classmate of mine from Eustis-Farnam’s class of 2004, Kevan Hueftle, has taken a tough situation and is now working to inspire others and perhaps compete for Team USA in the Paralympics.

I had the chance to chat with Kevan on my radio show last week about his journey from where it started to where he is now.

Knowing Kevan personally, I think this is absolutely incredible and I hope someday we see him wearing the colors of Team USA and to have the success he is looking for. If you know the name, you know how competitive he is. If you don’t know the name, get to know it because he won’t quit until he reaches the success he’s looking for.

(NOTE: During the interview we lost connection, but we were able to establish it again to finish the interview so stick with it!)

I thank Kevan for taking time to join me and I hope we can continue to share updates of his journey along the way.

Good Luck, man!

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Former USD kicker/punter preparing for next level

Miles Bergner is the all-time leading scorer at the University of South Dakota. He led the nation in punt average this past season. And soon, he could be playing on Sundays. There is speculation on whether or not he will be drafted next week. One of my first questions is, would he be a kicker or punter? He did both in college, but that’s more the exception than the norm.

If Bergner’s name does flash on the screen it likely would be Saturday on the 6th or 7th round. If not, he should have a chance to sign with a team and use the preseason to earn his spot. And, given the number of teams that have had their struggles, he should get the chance to prove himself.

I had a chance to chat with Miles on my radio show about his preparation for the next level and what he knows about the process.

On a personal note, I have very much enjoyed many conversations with Miles. I interviewed him before he came to USD, during his time here and I hope we have a number of opportunities to talk about his professional career. I am hoping for the best for him as he chases a dream! Good Luck, Miles!

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John Brubaker to release “Stadium Status”

sitebannerAward-winning author John Brubaker is at it again with a new book set to be released on Tuesday, April 4. Brubaker’s latest book is called “Stadium Status” and ties sports and entertainment stories into building a business. The book begs the question, “How can you reach Stadium Status.” Stadium Status, of course, can mean something different to many people, depending on your type of business and location.

Earlier this week, Brubaker joined me on “On the John” to talk about what the term Stadium Status actually means and he dives into the book a little.

Hear the interview here:

You can get more information on the book and learn how to pre-order with your chance to win prizes by visiting the book website.

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Wayne State baseball signs Jess Gibson

wayne stateIn sports, as fans, we get wrapped up so much into wins and losses and sometimes forget about the great stories on or off the field that doesn’t involve the scoreboard. On Monday, the Wayne State (Neb.) baseball team hit a home run with the signing of 16-year old Jess Gibson. The Wayne native was born with Cerebral Palsy and periventricular leukomalacia, a form of brain damage. He is also legally blind and wheelchair bound.

Alex Koch, who is in his 3rd season as the head coach at Wayne State, held a draft day signing event to sign Gibson to be a Wildcat.

On Wednesday I had a chance to interview Koch on my radio show about Gibson and what he means to the team. The event was made possible through Team IMPACT, an organization that helps children with chronic illness get involved with collegiate sports teams.

Here is my full interview with Coach Koch, which aired on “On the John” on ESPN Radio 1570.

My thanks to Alex Koch for taking time to do the interview and to Sports Information Director Mike Grosz for coordinating the interview time.

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Rankings thought process

Sports Equipment

I always think it’s interesting to watch rankings unfold throughout the course of the season. Of course, some people will say rankings don’t mean anything. For the most part, you’re probably right. What do rankings give us? They give us something to talk about and keep us informed on what games we should be paying attention to.

I’ve been a part of polls for many years and I have always felt like I have a good philosophy when it comes to ranking teams each week. Of course I think it’s good, it’s my idea!  Continue reading

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REVIEW: Tatanka Golf Club at Feather Hill

Photo Aug 09, 4 10 13 PMI had the chance this week to enjoy a round of golf at Tatanka Golf Club at Feather Hill located near Niobrara, Nebraska next to Ohiya Casino & Resort. It’s a course that I have been wanting to try but it just hasn’t worked out, until now.

They called it “media day” and invited different media members to play a round of golf. The real complaint of the day was mother nature. No rain, but the eve of a heat warning and temperatures in the 90’s with humidity upwards of 70% made hydrating extremely important.

I’m not a golf expert by any stretch of the imagination, but I do enjoy playing the game so taking advantage of this chance was really fun. When I arrived I learned I would be riding with Derek Bursheim, the father of the golf pro and grouped with Brian Bursheim, the golf pro at the course and Steve Donahue, a course rater with Golf Digest. Continue reading

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USD WBB team is visiting Australia

SD PawPrint_2C_whiteThe University of South Dakota women’s basketball team left Sunday for Australia. It’s a bonding trip with some basketball mixed in. The girls will play three games in Australia and get the chance to do some exploring as well. Fortunately for the team they have native Australian Jasmine Trimboli to help show the way. I had the chance to catch up with Trimboli, Caitlin Duffy and head coach Dawn Plitzuweit to talk about the trip before they departed.

See the itinerary here.

South Dakota head women’s basketball coach Dawn Plitzuweit talks about the transition do USD and Vermillion and also about the excitement of going to Australia with the team.

Senior Caitlin Duffy is excited for a once in a lifetime opportunity that will also be a basketball trip with teammates.

Jasmine Trimboli gets the chance to return to her home country and play basketball in front of family and friends. She will also help show her USD teammates a new culture.

The USD women’s basketball team will open the upcoming season on Nov. 11 at the Sanford Pentagon against Southern Illinois University Edwardsville. Tickets for the game will go on sale in October.

 

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2016 SD State Amateur Baseball Bracket Challenge

The 2016 State B Amateur Baseball Tournament is upon us with games beginning on Wednesday and culminating on August 14 at 2:00pm. The site of the tournament is once again beautiful Cadwell Park in Mitchell, SD.

Last year I started a Bracket Challenge to see just how much interest there was in this crazy state for amateur baseball. The only regret was not having the idea sooner so more people could enter. So, here we go, year TWO!

Last year we had around 50 entries and I think this year we can double or maybe even triple that number this year. Optimistic? Maybe. Possible? No doubt.

Once you create an account you can fill out your predictions. The deadline has been set for game time of the first game. Any brackets submitted after that will not be included in the standings. Make sure to check back for updated standings throughout the tournament. I will try to update as soon as possible after games are over.

Thanks for entering and please share it with your amateur baseball friends so we can make this a big contest. As of now there is no prize, but perhaps I can find a gift card or two for prizes. No promises. For now, enter for fun!

Enter Bracket Challenge Here

 

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Czech Days Queen Candidates hope to hear their name Saturday night

czech daysCzech Days in Tabor, SD kicks off tonight and there will be plenty to do over the weekend. Tonight the Tabor Bluebirds amateur baseball teams hosts Lesterville at 7:30pm. After the fireworks follow the Czech Days weekend is officially underway. There will be plenty of dancing and Kolache eating over the next couple of days with many other activities mixed in.

For four girls, their hope is to be the next Czech Days Queen. Some have the queen bloodline and Kolache skills, but all have the proud heritage.

I had the chance to interview this year’s candidates about the process and the Czech Days celebration.

Grace Adam

Kimberly Stribal

Morgan Rothscadl

Kelsey Kocer

Have a great Czech Days weekend!

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Another sad shooting, how can we fix it?

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As I sit here on a Sunday morning and think about what I am going to do today my heart breaks for the people involved in the Orlando shooting and all of their families. Every time we have an incident like this I try to wrap my brain around how this could have possibly happened. And, more importantly, why the hell does it keep happening?

You should be angry. We all should be. Because somewhere along the way we screwed up. As a society. This stuff isn’t to be blamed on a parent or two. It’s not the fault of a video game. It’s deeper than that.

I realize shootings and murders have happened since before my time, but it seems like it is more frequent. Is it because I am old enough to pay attention more or I understand it more? Or is it really happening more and more?

Did we forget how to love? Did we fail to teach how to love? What happened? We live in a world where we are more concerned about sharing our story or trying to be better than someone else that we have forgotten to appreciate what we have and commend others on what they have. It’s not just one person. It’s all of us. We have all fallen into the trap.

We are far too concerned about who believes in God and who doesn’t or how someone lives their life or if someone is transgender, homosexual or something else that is different than us.

Imagine a world where we put as much energy into our own lives or bettering ourselves as we do worrying about the person down the street who believes differently than us or, heaven forbid, is different from us.

I wish I had the answers to how we can fix our world. I know it’s not the best to point out a problem without offering a solution, but we have a problem. It’s a big problem. I’m not going to live in fear. I don’t want that to hold me back from living, but I damn sure know in today’s crazy world every time I wake up it could be the last time.

There will always be evil in the world. We aren’t going to stop it. But we can better ourselves and those who will come after us. I hope that if we take those steps the world will one day be a better place.

We need to find our way!

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USD sending three to Eugene

SD PawPrint_2C_whiteThe University of South Dakota will send three athletes to Eugene, Ore. for the NCAA Track Championships next week. Two athletes, Emily Grove and Emily Brigham, will compete in the women’s pole vault, while Teivaskie Lewin will compete in the men’s 110 hurdles.

The Championships are June 8-11 at Hayward Field. Continue reading

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SD Kayak Challenge is this weekend

kayakThe South Dakota Kayak Challenge will hit the water this weekend for the sixth consecutive year. More than 180 paddlers will attempt the journey from Yankton, SD to South Sioux City, NE. Event organizer and founder, Jarett Bies, joined me last week to talk about the event. They are always looking for volunteers if you are looking for something to do this Friday and Saturday. This is a big event and very well run. Visit the website to be a part of it!

Hear what Jarett had to say!

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Vermillion Grey Sox to host baseball classic

The Vermillion Grey Sox are hosting a baseball classic this weekend. The event will feature 10 teams from four leagues. The Classic kicks off tonight with two games, five games on Saturday and two more on Sunday.

Vermillion Grey Sox manager Mike Moran joined me on “On the John” on ESPN Radio 1570 to talk about the Classic.

 

 

 

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eSports is growing and it’s fascinating

esports-banner-2ab5eWhen I read an article from the Omaha World Herald about Midland University adding eSports as a collegiate varsity sport I wasn’t sure how to react. My first thought was, “really, we now have video games as a way to get a scholarship?” I don’t think I am against it by any means, but it’s different to me. You hire a coach for video games? Perhaps it’s strange for me because I liked to be outside as a kid. I played video games when it was raining or snowing or the street lights came on and it was time to go home due to darkness. And I definitely didn’t do it competitively, but I was competitive when I played…..if that makes any sense.

I am not, in any way, trying to take anything away from anyone who competes in college clubs/levels or professional gaming. I have been trying to understand it more. We see some colleges cutting sports for budget concerns, is this the future for us? Continue reading

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Jason Petrino joins “On the John”

Jason PetrinoThis morning on my radio show, “On the John”, which airs Monday through Friday from 9-11am CT on ESPN Radio 1570, I was joined by former USD defensive coordinator and current Rocky Mountain College head football coach Jason Petrino. The Battlin’ Bears just wrapped up the spring season. Coach Petrino talks about his new job, his time at USD, Carson Wentz – who he game planned against, and Drew Iddings getting a chance in the NFL.

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Dawn Plitzuweit introduced at South Dakota

Dawn Plitzuweit was officially introduced Monday at a press conference as the new head women’s basketball coach at USD. Plitzuweit, who comes to USD from Northern Kentucky, is the 10th head coach in Coyote women’s basketball history.

University of South Dakota President Jim Abbott and Athletics Director David Herbster opened with comments before Coach P, as many will get to know her, made her opening remarks.

Following the press conference I had a chance to interview Coach Plitzuweit about her decision to make the move to South Dakota and her impression of the current team and new facility.

On a personal note I am excited to work with Coach P. She’s energetic and is really excited about continuing the success at USD. Her and her family are going to be great for USD and for the community of Vermillion and surrounding area.

In talking with some of the current women’s basketball players I learned they are eager to start working with Coach P. They seem to be genuinely excited that she is the new coach. That’s a good start after a coaching change.

Be sure to welcome Coach P, her husband Jay and kids AJ and Lexi to the USD family! Send her a message on Twitter!

Go Yotes!

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WNIT Director talks about selection

Every team has a goal of reaching the NCAA tournament. It doesn’t matter if you get matched up against a No. 1 or No. 2 seed. The feeling of being in the NCAA tournament for athletes and coaches is incredible. But not everyone gets into the tournament.

In women’s basketball 64 teams get the opportunity to play in the tournament. That teams more than 250 teams, many of which had a great season, on the outside looking in. That’s where other postseason opportunities come into play. For women’s basketball there are two more – Women’s National Invitational Tournament (WNIT) and Women’s Basketball Invitational (WBI). With 64 teams in the WNIT and 16 more in the WBI that gives an additional 80 teams a chance to play for a championship and 144 total teams in women’s postseason tournaments. Continue reading

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It was just one of those days

wrong socksIt was just one of those days.

You know, the kind of day where it seems like you can’t remember anything? Ok, it doesn’t seem that way, you really can’t remember anything.

We traveled to Denver for a USD women’s basketball game. We arrived on Thursday with the game set for Friday night. Friday morning as I get up for the day I noticed I forgot to pack white t-shirts to wear under my dress shirt. No big deal. I can find a store close and pick some up. I needed new ones anyway and, let’s be honest, you can’t have enough white T’s.

I found a Target which, according to the Maps app on my iPhone, was about 0.7 miles away. With plenty of time to kill in the morning I began the trek. Naturally, not all of the sidewalks were cleared off so it was through snow, ice and some dry spots, where the sun had been beaming down. After about 15 minutes I found the Super Target. It was attached to a Sports Authority so I decided to take a look in there. Broncos gear everywhere. I mean, we are two days from the Super Bowl and in Denver, what did you really expect right?

After a few minutes in the store I made my way to Target where I found the shirts I needed. I grabbed a couple of other things and made my way back to the hotel. Later in the day I began getting ready for the game. It was about 4:40pm, with scheduled departure at 5:20pm when I realized I also didn’t bring any dress socks. No chance to make it to the store so I was left to decide between regular white low cut socks or no socks at all. I’m not much of a no sock guy so we brave it out with the white socks. I sit under a table, how many people were going to care anyway, right?

As we arrive at Magness Arena, home of the Denver Pioneers, I realized I left my stats sheets at the hotel. Well, there goes all of my preparation. Fortunately, the SID at Denver was nice enough to print them off for me and I could use them. They weren’t in color….I like colors…but at that point I would take anything.

The good news is the girls won the game, 79-33. So, despite all of my troubles and inability to remember things, the night ended on a good note.

Usually when I forget something on one of these trips it’s a belt. And you can make do without that, but it just didn’t feel right to not have the socks. Here’s to hoping I can find some socks in Omaha before tomorrow night’s game.

And let this be a reminder that even though it seems like sometimes you can’t remember anything or it’s just not your day…..things are going to be just fine!

Wearing the white low-cut socks is the latest addition to #JohnnySwag. What is Johnny Swag? It’s my fashion fails that most people wouldn’t attempt.

Current #JohnnySwag list:

  1. Wearing sweatpants with a dress shirt, tie and dress shoes. Hey, sometimes you have to change the pants quick after a road game and catch the bus. The shirts can be changed later.
  2. Low-cut white socks instead of dress socks.

That’s #JohnnySwag!

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