Former player praises culture Nagy built


Throughout 21 years as head coach at South Dakota State, Coach Scott Nagy changed the lives of many.

In 1999, he began to change my life when he walked me, an eight-year-old, back to the team’s locker room – a perk of being a “Junior Jack.”

Fast forward 10 years, and Coach Nagy took me back into the locker room again – this time, as a recruit. He told me that our incoming class would be the first to win the Summit League and advance to the NCAA Tournament – he was right. 

Coach Nagy’s basketball success, however, is not what defines him; what defines him is his character: his leadership to coach barefooted, his humility to cry in front of his team and his will to believe in his players. All these things have charmed thousands of Jackrabbits and enamored basketball fans around the state. Finally, though, the country has taken notice, and our coach has left. 

Looking back, I remember that as a child, my friends and I sat in Section FF, the highest corner in Frost Arena, for Jackrabbit basketball games. Over and over, we watched Coach Nagy stomp, yell and find ways to win hundreds of basketball games.

After each game, we’d ride home and listen to Coach Nagy on the radio: “Defense and rebounding – we can be even better.” Coach would be critical, but then encouraging. Now, 400 wins later, these are staples of his reputation.

Although Coach Nagy has left, the men’s basketball program is in its best shape ever. So, to the next head coach at SDSU, you have big shoes to fill. Jacks fans should be excited for a new chapter, and remember what Coach Nagy would say, “We can be even better!”