On Thursday night, the new press box at was dedicated to the late Coach Bob “The Bear” Christian, a teacher and coach at the school for 15 years.
Christian, who died in June, 2009, compiled a 96-61-4 record as football coach for the Spartans. It was the best record of any football coach in De Smet history. He guided De Smet to the state championship in 1975 and to to playoffs five times, according to an obituary on the De Smet website.
“He was a motivator, rough and tumble,” said Mike Leary, who played for Christian in the 70s. “We called him the Bear and it fit him perfectly. Old school. Our offense was three yards and a cloud of dust. He didn’t like mistakes. Mental errors, he didn’t like them.
“He left a lasting impression on us. Mid 70s when I played for him and I still remember it like it was yesterday,” Leary said.
A group of alumni, coaches and members of the Christian family were there to dedicate the new press box.
According to Christian’s son, Tim (one of four), it was a huge improvement. “The old press box was on the 30-yard line, as was a scaffolding made of 2x12s and lawn chairs,” he said.
“Where they were even five years ago, compared to where they are today, is a tremendous testament to what it is that they are committed to here at De Smet,” another son, Gregg, said.
“De Smet has been a part of our lives since we were kids, Gregg said, “We shared our dad with them and they shared their success with us, I’m sure Dad would be reluctantly happy, to put it lightly.”
Jim Baxendale, De Smet class of 1976 said the press box project was two years in the making, and that combined with the new track and stadium, $420,000 was raised in donations, including donations from 100 former players and students.
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