During the early stages of high school athletics in South Dakota, two visionary coaches, one in East River and the other in West River, emerged as examples of how to build and sustain premier programs.
Howard Wood was born in Canada and graduated from Potsdam Normal College (N.Y.). He arrived at Sioux Falls Washington in 1908. Wood coached the Warriors to four state basketball championships and had a career record of 430-141. In football his teams won 17 state titles and went 246-74-16. In track Wood guided SFW to 16 state championships.
Euclid Cobb was born in Texas and earned a degree from Monmouth College (Ill.). He took over as coach at what would become Rapid City Central in 1920. Cobb’s team won a state basketball title in 1942. In football he had a career record of 144-43-13 while posting seven undefeated seasons: 1922, 1923, 1925, 1927, 1931, 1932 and 1943.
Wood spent 39 years at Washington and died in 1949. A prominent Sioux Falls stadium, Howard Wood Field, was named in his memory. Cobb died in 1986. The school he served for 41 years gave him the ultimate compliment when in 1934 it used his surname to change its mascot from the Tigers. Since then Central’s teams have been the Cobblers.