When Cloddy’s former players congregate, they invariably share “Cloddy” stories. Most are humorous. A few are outrageous. Some are touching.
And it’s not just his former players who have stories to tell. The biography I have written “CLODDY” covers his whole life – from his early years in Woonsocket to his final years in Vermillion.
On this page, I would invite those who have a “Cloddy” story to share it with those who visit my website. I think this will be a very interesting page and could promote some good conversation about the man.
At the bottom of this page is a “Comment” section. If you would like to share a recollection of Dwane “Cloddy” Clodfelter, I’d invite you to share it in this section. And feel free to share another story from time to time.
As a heads up, your comment will not post to the website immediately. I have to approve it first and then it will post to the website. I have the ability to edit it at any time if a correction needs to be made. You can email me with any corrections or revisions – even after you first submit your story. My email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you prefer to write me with a story or anecdote, my mailing address is:
PO Box 12387
Murfreesboro TN 37129
Do you have a “Cloddy” story?
Thank you for sharing!
By Vince Frieden
USD Class of 1998
I had the great privilege of interviewing Coach Cloddy at his kitchen table during the spring of 1998. I was then a senior sports editor at the University of South Dakota’s student newspaper, The Volante, and was working on a story about the 1958 USD National Championship team–on its 40-year anniversary.
Cloddy was very gracious in accepting the interview and inviting me into his home. He held court at his kitchen table that morning for what was probably two hours, and I had the opportunity to hear so many of the stories that could not be found on the microfiche at I.D. Weeks Library–from his scheduling philosophy and his style of play to the inspiring story of the Daniels brothers and the community that embraced them.
I really could have spent the entire day there and come back for more.
It was the perfect conclusion to a journey that began the day I first walked under that National Championship banner in the DakotaDome and wondered about the story behind that team. The story itself ran over 1,500 words and consumed about two full pages of that sports section–I honestly could have written about five full-length features just on the stories within the story. Even 15-plus years later, I still consider it the best story I’ve had the opportunity to help tell.
I like to think Al Neuharth, whose support was so critical to my experience at The Volante, enjoyed the article too. The following fall, the USA Today sports section ran a story about Coach Cloddy and the Daniels brothers.
I’m thrilled that Kim has set out to write a proper biography on Coach Cloddy. Cloddy really was on the leading-edge as both a coach and a leader of young men. Intercollegiate athletics today would be well served if there were more mentors and examples like him today.
I cannot wait for the book!
By Larry Hultgren
USD Class of 1967
I had the privilege of first meeting Coach Cloddy under unusual circumstances. He had come to Ida Grove to watch me play basketball, and when he found out that I was only a junior, he did not discuss my future. He only introduced himself as the head Coach at the University of South Dakota.
He told me that he enjoyed how hard I played and as he left he did say, “I noticed tonight that there was not one shot that you do not like!” At the time I didn’t know if the man was real or not, and little did I know that was the beginning of a relationship that I would always treasure.
As it turned out I did attend South Dakota, however, it was on a football scholarship. I thought at the time – my basketball playing days were over. At the conclusion of my first year of football, Coach Cloddy approached me about playing basketball. I told him that I didn’t feel like I had time and also I had never heard from him again after his initial visit to Ida Grove. He told me that he heard I was being recruited for football and he thought I would also play basketball. I ended up going out for basketball, and as it turned out, it was one of my better decisions.
Coach Cloddy had the basketball mentality that if the other team could not score, you were going to win the game. Defense was foremost in his coaching philosophy. I remember him telling me the first day of practice, “The game is played at both ends of the floor, and we will go to the other end after we learn how to play defense.” I was sure he was reminding me of what he saw back in Ida Grove.
Coach Cloddy’s practices were not long, but very well organized and very intense. Cloddy’s humor, on and off the court, helped him get his points of emphasis across. He was very quick witted.
For example, we played Purdue, out of the Big 10, and they were ranked 5th in the nation and we took them to overtime before losing by 3. After the game Cloddy walked into the locker room and told us how proud he was of our efforts, and then concluded by saying, “You guys came very close doing something special – but I want you to remember that coming close is a lot like kissing your sister — not too big of thrill!” I heard that 50 years ago, and I never forgot it.
Coach Cloddy demanded respect, but he also gave the same respect back. After your playing years were over, there was not one thing that Coach Cloddy would not have done for you if he could. He told us all, no matter how good you are or how bad we might be, we all put our uniforms on the same way. And we all play for the U!
There are many, many Cloddy stories, but in closing I will share one with you that involved myself. We were playing Creighton down in Omaha, and Creighton had one guard that was, for no better words, just plain mean and dirty. During the game, this player spit in one of our player’s face. Coach Cloddy became very irate and called me up beside him and the following conversation took place:
Cloddy: “Did you see what just happened?”
Cloddy: “I want you to go in the game and let that guy steal the ball – and as he is driving to the other end of the court, I want you to hit him and drive him into the 6th row of the bleachers!”
Me: “If I do that Coach, he will come up swinging and I will get thrown out of the game.”
Cloddy: “That’s right, Larry, but he will get thrown out of the game as well… – and we can afford to lose you.”
I looked at him and Cloddy just smiled. I did not go into the game at that time, but he was letting me know what he was thinking.
Coach Cloddy was definitely one of a kind, and in a way that is too bad. As Vince Frieden put it in his comments on Cloddy, college athletics today would be well served if there were more like Cloddy. As you can tell — he was one of my best friends of all times!
By Mary Anne Dyer
My husband Darrell (Butch to nearly everyone) is a first cousin to your Dad. I enjoyed reading about you and your dad through the legacy article in the USD newsletter.
Your dad was so involved in getting Butch to attend USD. He gave us a complete tour of the USD campus, found us housing at the old Campus Ct. He and you mom were there for just about every need we had. We were always invited to your home for holidays, remember eating Thanksgiving dinner with the Daniel brothers and the rest of the team who couldn’t make it to their homes.
My story has little to do with basketball. We babysat a lot for your folks when they were out of town. I’m sure your sister, Claudia will remember. When USD played in the 1958 Division II national tourney, we babysat you (Kim-3 years old) and your siblings (Claudia, Linda and Dean).
Your mother, Carol, was leaving to join your dad at the Elite 8 in Evansville, Indiana. You didn’t like being left with a babysitter. You did not want her to leave – so you locked yourself in the upstairs bathroom.
Your mom left the house and went to the driveway to get into the car picking her up. I believe Bob Short was the impatient driver. He kept honking his horn over and over.
Flustered, I went to the door and shouted to your mother, “What should I do?”
As they drove out of the driveway your mom yelled out, “Call the fire department!”
I did, they got you out – and the rest is history. USD WON THE WHOLE THING!! THEY BEAT THEM ALL AND CAME HOME WITH THE TROPHY!!!!!!
Cloddy and your mom were just the greatest! So happy that you are writing his biography. Please let me know when it is available, I am 78, so write it fast…HA.
USD Class of 1985
My relationship with Coach Clodfelter began when I met him at his golf clinic in Vermillion in 1972 (I was 10 years old). He was very innovative even then in my eyes as he showed me a 10 sequence photo of my swing (John Daly like… long backswing). He told me I should maybe shorten that backswing, but in the same breath he told me to be who I was, in that familar Cloddy manner.
My Dad, who attended and graduated from USD in 1961 had brought me to this clinic, and told me stories of Cloddy and his championship team(s), so in my eyes when he came to me and showed me my swing, I was talking to a legend. Little did I know, that our paths would cross again some 30 years later, and I would truly realize what a great man he was.
Fast forward to 2004, and I was working for the USD athletic department as the development officer (fundraiser). My job was to find money that would be donated either by individuals, business/corporations, or develop scholarships, directed to student-athletes.
Since I had graduated from USD in 1985, I had been a USD athletics supporter, and along with my Dad and my family had attended many events. So when I took the job in the athletic department, I asked my Dad for some advice (Dad was an original contract seat holder in the DakotaDome) as his era was a generation that I was not entirely familiar with. He suggested that I contact Jack Theeler, to get some perspective on how to get Jack’s interest in Coyote athletics going again. So I did. Jack was gracious to meet with me, and from here he suggested a scholarship be started in Cloddy’s name. We (Jack and I) contacted Cloddy to get his blessing and guidance. He was was very humbled and gracious, and wanted to get to work immediately on the project.
From this point on, I can say that my relationship with Coach was truly a blessing. He would stop by the Dome at least twice a week, to give suggestions on who to contact, and along with his help, we reunited some amazing folks with not only the Coach, but USD.
Coach would invite me to his house to “discuss the scholarship”…it would typically be a phone call from him around 4pm, middle of the week, that would go like this…
CLODDY: “What are you doing?
ME: “Working Coach.”
CLODDY: “Why don’t you stop doing that and stop by the house, I have some ideas”.
I could never say no to Coach, as everytime we met I learned something. These spur of the moment meetings would always include a (strong) beverage or two, and inevitably we would discuss many topics that did not include the scholarship. He always would ask about my wife and kids, and gave me some sage advice on how to stay true to who I was.
During one of these “meetings” we were talking about my young daughter Abbi, and how pretty her red hair was…he loved her hair. She had fallen that week and scraped her hand and when he found this out he immediately went to his window sill to retrieve an aloe vera plant, replanted a piece of it into another pot and sent me on my way saying, “Put some of this juice on that wound and take care of her”. This plant would be in house for years later, and was always referred to by my twins (Abbi and Jakob) as “Cloddy’s Cactus” He was one of the most caring men I have ever known.
Coach was a man of true conviction and grace. Always willing the help anyone he came in contact with…whether you were on the bottom or the top of the ladder of life, he treated everyone with kindness and respect.
I learned more from this man about life in 2 years than anyone (outside of my own parents). I miss our “meetings” and always will.
God bless you Coach, and God bless you Kim for bringing these stories to life, showing the public what an extraordinary man he was.
By Wayne Everson
Vermillion H.S. Class of 1965
USD Class of 1970 (B.S.), ’75 (M.S.S.), ’88 (Ed.D.)
The word in Vermillion spread quickly that Cloddy’s USD basketball team was winning several games and so the residents came to see the result and what a surprise it was for them to watch. The games were very interesting, as the plan was to find the weak spot in the opposing team and exploit it.
The guards, Cliff and Jimmie Daniels, brothers from Brooklyn, NY, were super ball handlers and great shooters as no team could contain them. They had head fakes and dribbling spins, that we had never seen before so they were both almost unstoppable. If somebody double teamed one, he just threw the ball to his brother as they came down the court. Jim and Cliff were great at sizing up the defensive players as they increased speed with more fast breaks as the game went along. They also had great shot selection.
Roger Nelson, the center, was built like a full-back and no one could push him out. Maury Haugland and Clayt Kiewel were the forwards and also great rebounders and defenders.
When the Coyotes made a shot on a fast break, there were no smiles, no high fives, no jumping up and down, and no facial expression at all, but the crowd went absolutely nuts with noise! The Coyotes would continue with running and gunning, as they knew they had the defenders beaten, as the score went higher and higher.
The news had spread around Vermillion that Cloddy had a winning USD basketball team, so many people from the Tri-State area came out to see the games and enjoyed the winning results. The crowds at the New Armory were getting larger and larger each week – as there was standing room only for the games.
It was almost a festive atmosphere. As the Coyotes went out onto the court, the crowd wondered, “How much are they going to win by this time?” The Coyotes had a winning streak going.
In March of 1958, I was shooting baskets at the New Armory one day and a kid came into shoot hoops, too. I was ten years old at the time.
The other boy said, “The Coyotes won the National Championship!”
“How do you know that?” I replied. “The team was here just last week!”
“It was on the news that USD won!” the boy exclaimed.
We both stood there and just looked at each other not saying a word.
South Dakota had never won a national championship in any sport – but they had one now in basketball. It was a Miracle, for sure, as South Dakota had a National Championship Basketball Team!
I remember Vermillion businessmen raising money and buying Cloddy and his family a brand new Buick for this achievement.
I also remember Cloddy coaching in the Puerto Rican Summer League in the summer of 1958 – bringing his winning coaching style to that Caribbean island.
The reasons why the 1957-58 team was so successful:
1. The starting five were veteran seniors.
2. They were strong and gifted athletes.
3. Balanced scoring.
4. Great rebounders – all five starters including the guards.
5. Followed the game plan.
6. They never quit.
7. Fast breaks all the time wearing down opponents.
8. The grand total was much greater than the sum of its parts.