Jerry Wingen grew up in a family of nine children, 14 miles west of Canova, South Dakota. His dad died during Jerry’s junior year at Canova High School. It was Jerry’s 19 year old brother, Don who chose to pass on college and run the family farm. Everyone worked hard to help Don and when the work was done there was always time for sports. Jerry honed his basketball skills playing against brother, Don, who was a very strong player and younger brother, Ken, who was very quick. Don helped raise all of his siblings and to this day lives on the farm west of Canova, South Dakota.
During the 1950’s Miner County was a “hot bed” of excellent South Dakota High School Basketball. There were seven high schools in Miner County.They were Howard Public, Howard St Agatha. Canova, Carthage, Winfred, Fedora and Argonne. In 1956 Howard High School was led by Ron Truman, they won the State B Tournament. While St. Agatha was winning the Catholic Tournament that same year. It was tiny Canova High School (39 students) led by Jerry Wingen who defeated both of the Howard teams in 1956. Quite an accomplishment for the Canova Eagles.
Canova beat Howard in the Championship of the Little Hickory Conference Tournament. Jerry Wingen scored 44 points in the Championship game against Howard, and a record setting 120 points in three tournament games. The following week the Canova Eagles knocked off St. Agatha. Jerry Wingen averaged 30.3 points per game in 1955/56 and scored 2,333 points during his high school career. Jerry was selected to the First -Team “Class B” All-State team in 1956.
Jerry went on to play both football and basketball at Southern State Teachers College in Springfield, South Dakota. There he was selected First Team SDIC All-Conference in Football and Basketball. He was selected to the Southern Hall of Fame as well as the SDIC Hall of Fame. After graduation Jerry coached at Highmore and some of his students and friends from Highmore, South Dakota will be at the induction ceremony. His former students and players have the utmost respect for Jerry. Some 50 years later they will meet again.
Jerry moved to Connecticut in 1967. There he continued to play basketball in adult leagues. He also qualified to play four times (1998-2000-2002-2004) in the National Senior Olympics and finally decided to hang up his basketball shoes at age 66. Jerry and his wife Jan still live In Connecticut. They have four sons. three daughters in law and nine grandchildren. We are proud to announce the selection of Jerry Wingen to the South Dakota High School Basketball Hall of Fame. The induction ceremony will be held at the Dakota Prairie Playhouse on the Dakota State University Campus in Madison, South Dakota at 2:00 pm on March 26, 2011. Congratulations Jerry Wingen, teammates, coaches, family and friends.