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GBK: Van Laecken Retires After 37 Years At Parkston

February 20, 2014, 10:50 PM by Cat Clark

GBK: Van Laecken Retires After 37 Years At Parkston

He has the most wins of any coach in South Dakota girl's basketball history and after 37 years Parkston's Rob Van Laecken has decided to hang up his whistle.

Since 1977, Rob Van Laecken has been calling plays from the Parkston sideline. Entering play on Thursday, his record stood at 595 wins, but he gives all the credit to his players.

"You don't really think about it until the time comes, you never pay attention to where you are at. It's a great tribute to the program and to our kids. I'll be the first one to say that you have to have good kids to be successful," Parkston Girls Head Coach Rob Van Laecken said.

Van Laecken has coached 17 All-State players and 13 Lady Trojans that have surpassed 1,000 career points.

"You try to encourage them to do things like that, but that comes from them and within themselves to become great players. They have to put in the time and do whatever it takes," Van Laecken said.

He has led his team to 34 seasons with a winning record and ten State Tournaments.  In 2012, his squad made it to the finals for the first time, only to have his best player leave the game with an injury.

"We got beat in the championship, but if Marie Malloy doesn't get hurt in the first minute of the championship game we will never know what could have happened.  We're fine with it though, those things happen in basketball and we all understand that," Van Laecken said.

Another thing this coaching icon understands is that you can't do it forever.  With his spare time now he plans on spending time with his wife, family, and four grandchildren, while traveling to watch the three former players he has playing college ball.

"Those three kids that were playing for me , that are now playing in college, Marie Malloy, Erica Herrold, and Logan Wagner, I plan on going to a lot of their ball games next year. I haven't been able to that due to my own basketball schedule. I think I owe that to them to go watch them play," Van Laecken said.

His record now stands at 595 after Parkston lost to Mount Vernon/Plankington 42-27 in Thursday's regular season finale.

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