Flandreau High School’s football team played their first game Friday night on what will now be known as Jim “Tiger” McGlone Field.
The school dedicated the field at half time of its game against McCook Central/Montrose and unveiled the 4-foot by 8-foot sign.
“It’s quite an honor. I didn’t realize they were going to do this,” McGlone said of the sign and the field being named for him. “The guys that put it up are the same guys I used to call knuckleheads in practice all the time.”
The idea for the sign came from a group of four who thought McGlone deserved the honor: John Shaeffer, Tom Hansen, Steve Christensen and Randy Wilts.
At 80, McGlone still is an active supporter of the Fliers and is at as many games as he can get to. He used his purple and gold golf cart to make his way onto the field Friday night.
“Tiger has been a mainstay in the Flandreau community pretty much all of his life. His dedication to our student athletes of Flandreau schools and the community of Flandreau is greatly appreciated by everyone,” said Superintendent Rick Weber in an interview. “When you think of Flandreau football, you think of Tiger.”
McGlone taught 31 years in Flandreau and coached football each of those years from the fall of 1967 through 1997. He also coached wrestling for 16 years and golf for 15 years. He was active in the Booster Club when the stadium was built in the early 1970s.
His assistant coach of 24 years, John Evans, died before the dedication, a sad turn because McGlone had wanted him there.
McGlone coached the most successful team since high school football playoffs started in 1981. They lost the 1987 championship game in a heartbreaking 7-6 to Beresford at the University of South Dakota’s Dakota Dome.
But McGlone doesn’t call any one team his favorite.
“When they played, they were all favorites,” he said. “Everyone that played for me, I had great appreciation for.”
Members of the 1987 team coordinated their reunion for the same weekend of the McGlone field dedication so they could attend the game. The teammates haven’t gotten together since graduating, and about 20 members were able to make it home, some coming as far away as Chicago, Kansas City and Wyoming, said Brian “Pedro” Johnson, who was a junior on the team.
“It’s a big deal that they are dedicating the field to Tiger,” he said. “Tiger really liked that team. We just thought what better time to have a reunion from that team than now.”
In addition to going to the game wearing matching retro shirts and tailgating, the group was scheduled for other activities on Saturday, too.
McGlone coached Johnson’s dad, too, and was a coach that made himself heard.
“He was strict and yelled, and that’s what made you better,” Johnson said. “Tiger, I felt, got the most out of you. I sure enjoyed him as a coach and now as a person. I sure have the utmost respect for him and all of the coaches.”
Steve Johnson, a senior on the 1987 team, said there were a lot of lessons learned through football.
“Coach McGlone, he developed a program of Flandreau football and a tradition in Flandreau that stood for three decades. That tradition influenced a lot of young men along the way,” he said.
The stadium will continue to be named Flier Booster Club Stadium.