Smith to be Inducted Posthumously into SDIAAA Hall of Fame

Smith to be Inducted Posthumously into SDIAAA Hall of Fame

The five newest members to be inducted into the South Dakota Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association Hall of Fame are Gene Brownell of Aberdeen, Chris Lund (deceased) of Arlington, Randy Marso of Brandon, Darren Paulson of Rapid City, and Vern Smith (deceased) of Gettysburg.

The induction ceremony will be held later this year. To be chosen for this honor, a person must have been an athletic director for ten years and an active member of the SDIAAA. Candidates are considered through three criteria: national, state, and local involvement. Individuals chosen have volunteered time to promote the belief and purpose of the SDIAAA and who have promoted the importance of education-based athletics and sportsmanship within their school and community.

Smith graduated from Deubrook High School in 1981 and Dakota State College in 1986. Smith taught business, computer, and physical education at Gettysburg for 37 years and coached football, basketball, and track & field.  He became the head track & field coach in 1993, activities director in 2001, and head football coach in 2002. Smith led the Battlers to the 2013 State Football Championship and five state runners–up finishes. He earned 11 South Dakota Cross Country and Track & Field Association Region Coach of the Year Awards, was honored as the 2013-14 South Dakota High School Coaches Association Football Coach of the Year and was inducted into the South Dakota Football Hall of Fame. Smith was recognized as the 2007 Region 4 Athletic Director of the Year. He served as Activities Director for the Gettysburg School District for 22 years.

You can see full bios on the inductees below.

Gene Brownell was a 1964 Henry High School and Northern State University graduate in 1968.  He served in the U.S. Army from 1969-1971 and spent the next 49 years in public school education – twenty-six as a teacher/coach and twenty-three as Athletic Director at Aberdeen Central High School.  Brownell was SDHSCA Athletic Director of the Year twice and a finalist for the NHSACA award.  He received the NIAAA State Award of Merit and Region 1 Athletic Director of the Year.  Brownell served on the SDHSAA Board of Directors and received its Distinguished Service Award.  He also served on the SDHSAA Track & Field, Gymnastics, and Soccer Advisory Committees.  Brownell was inducted into several Halls of Fame – the National and South Dakota High School Coaches, South Dakota High School Track & Field and Cross County, and Wrestling Coaches.

Randy Marso, CAA, graduated from Sioux Fall Lincoln and South Dakota State University.   Marso was the athletic director at Brandon Valley for 23 years.  He served the SDIAAA as Region Chairman and State President and was a member of the Scholarship Committee and Leadership Training Faculty.  His contributions included membership on the NIAAA Certification Committee (oversight of the CAA exam), management of SDHSAA State Championships for several sports, and membership on numerous SDHSAA Committees.  His service resulted in his selection for the SDHSCA Athletic Director of the Year Award, NIAAA State Award of Merit, and SDIAAA Professional Development Award.  Marso continues to present the NIAAA Leadership Training Legal Issues courses and serves as the ESD and Metro Conference Secretary/Treasurer in retirement. 

Darren Paulson, CAA, graduated from Harrisburg High School and Augustana College.  He received a master’s degree from SDSU.  Paulson began his career as a teacher/coach at Todd County High School.  He served as Assistant Principal and Activities Director at Lead-Deadwood High School for 11 years and was the Activities Director at Rapid City Central for 14 years.  Paulson received the NFHS National Citation Award, the NIAAA State Award of Merit, and the 2010 South Dakota Athletic Director of the Year Award.  He served as SDIAAA President and was a member of the SDHSAA Board of Directors from 2009-2014, serving as chairman.  Paulson received the 2015 SDHSAA Distinguished Service Award and is a member of the Augustana University Athletic Hall of Fame, Lead-Deadwood High School Hall of Fame, and the Rapid City Sports Hall of Fame.

Chris Lund graduated from Grant-Deuel High School in 1979. He earned a bachelor’s degree in 1983 and his Master’s in 1989 from Northern State College. He was inducted into the Northern State Athletics Hall of Fame. Lund served at Doland from 1980-1997 as an industrial arts and physical education teacher, football and wrestling coach, and eventually as the principal and athletic director. After earning his Specialist’s Degree, Lund was superintendent and athletic director at Arlington from 2001-2016.

Lund was diagnosed with cancer three months before his retirement and passed away in March 2017. During Lund’s 25-plus years as athletic director, he served on several SDHSAA Advisory Committees and the SDIAAA Scholarship Committee. He was honored as the SDIAAA Region III Athletic Director of the Year during the 2004-2005 and 2015-2016 school years.