After 25 seasons of guiding South Dakota basketball and leading the Coyotes from the Division II North Central Conference and up to the ranks of Division I, first as an Independent and then as a member of the Great West Conference and then the Summit League, longtime head coach David Boots announced his retirement today.
This comes as an abrupt surprise, considering that the season is set to begin in about two months and practice getting underway in just over three weeks.
In so many words, South Dakota athletic director David Herbster explained his frustration with seeing Boots retire, but he is clearly thankful for all the coach did for the university:
Today, I accepted the decision of Coach Dave Boots to retire and step down as head basketball coach at the University of South Dakota. I appreciate everything that Dave Boots has done for USD, Coyote athletics and our basketball program. Timing is never ideal and I know he didn’t reach this decision without careful thought and consideration.
Boots’ reasoning for stepping down as head coach seems to be a fairly normal one for a coach who has been roaming the sidelines for one school for so many years:
For the past 25 years, I have enjoyed leading the Coyote basketball program. The time has come for a new face and new voice to now lead. Peggy and I want to thank everyone who supported us and made our experience so enjoyable. USD was truly a special place for our family. I would like to thank all of the assistant coaches that worked with me over the years and a special thanks to Coach (Joey) James and Coach (Chris) Kassin for their many years of commitment and loyalty. They made my job easy.
Much of Boots’ success with South Dakota came at the Division II level, where they competed in the NCC from 1988-2008. During this time, South Dakota advanced to the NCAA Division II Tournament ten times.
Boots ushered the Coyotes’ way into Division 1 very nicely as they posted a 40-25 record in their first two seasons competing in the Great West, but consecutive ten win seasons as a member of the Summit League were the only years South Dakota finished below .500 under Boots’ watch.
Said Herbster: “Coach Boots has left an impact on basketball in the state of South Dakota, and his 25 years of service to the game here on this campus has left the foundation of an incredibly strong program.”