Faces in the Crowd: Duane Whalen
Duane Whalen has been retired for about 20 years, but is still heavily involved in the sports world of Rapid City.
Reminiscing upon the names on the Rapid City Sports Hall of Fame board at the Civic Center, Duane Whalen knows almost all of these inductees on some level. The board reflects Rapid City Sports History from the late 1920s to present time. A way to preserve local sports legacies.
Whalen who is Chairman of “The Officials” says, “I have not found another city that has a Sports Hall of Fame, I think it’s really rather unique and I of course was born and raised here and so I grew up with most of these people in some form. And I became involved in athletics as a teacher and coach and later as an athletic administrator. I think this is something that’s worth maintaining and continuing hopefully I’ll continue long into the future.”
The people honored on the board and at the annual hall of fame banquet are either athletes, contributors or coaches. Some of them grew up in Rapid City and went on the excel in a sports career, just to name a couple- Adam Vinatieri and Becky Hammon and others have made an impact in other ways.
Whalen is also a part of “The Officials” a group of local, sports enthusiasts that was organized in the early 1970s. Currently there are about 70 members, who not only promote sports in town, but also do a lot of the behind the scenes work at sports functions like ushering and scanning tickets – all to raise money to fund the annual banquet and the recognition board.
Needless to say Whalen is a sports fan, but he also advocate for all school activities.
“I’m a real fan of activities in high school. There’s been a lot of research that kids in activities, any activity, like band, orchestra, debate or what have you – do better in school attendance and they have a better self-image if they’re involved in activities. And I guess I found it for my own self, that’s probably what kept me in school during that period of time.”
Whalen hopes Rapid City residents will continue their enthusiasm for sports to keep the traditions alive.
For more information on becoming a member of the “The Officials” group, go to Visit Rapid City.