Longtime Post 22 coach Dave Ploof dies

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Long-time Rapid City American Legion Post 22 baseball coach Dave Ploof, 80, died Sunday at his home in Rapid City.

Ploof retired from his 47 years of coaching after the 2011 season, In his coaching career, Ploof never recorded a losing season and guided the Hardhats to 33 state championships, eight American Legion World Series appearances and the 1993 national title. During that time, Ploof amassed 2,483 wins including 18 consecutive state titles from 1970 to 1987, a national record.

During Ploof’s career, he coached future major league players Mark Ellis, Dave Collins and Kelvin Torve. 

Rapid City Mayor recently declared May 15, 2017 as Dave Ploof Day in the community.

"Among the greatest gifts given by Coach Ploof were the many life lessons he provided to the players he taught, and the respect he earned from competing coaches, players and fans of baseball from across the country," reads Mayor Allender's proclamation.  "Coach Ploof has served as a leader of young men on the baseball diamond but has also served as an inspiration and role model to young men, women and people of all ages, with his winning attitudes about life, of all sports, and utilizing and taking an individual's talent to the utmost potential."

Jeff Barbier, Rapid City's Community Resources Director and an alum of the Post 22 program, says Ploof had lasting impacts on the players he coached.

"Dave put Rapid City baseball into the national spotlight.  He produced three major league players, several minor league players and a host of players who received scholarships to play at the collegiate level," said Barbier.  "But at the player level, most of us took what we learned from Coach Ploof and went on to get college degrees to work in a variety of professions and to serve communities across the nation.  You can't put a price on what Dave has meant to Rapid City, the sport of baseball in the region and to the players he coached."

In addition to coaching Post 22, Ploof also coached Rapid City Central’s wresting program for 25 years and served as a member of the Mayor's Civic Center Resolution Task Force. 

Ploof  is also a member of Rapid City and Alexandria, MN Sports Halls of Fame and is the recipient of numerous coaching honors. 

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