VOLGA, SD (KELO) — If you attend this week’s Howard Wood Dakota Relays in Sioux Falls, be sure to stop by a booth manned by 79-year-old George Kiner. The retired Sioux Valley basketball coach will be selling copies of sports books he’s compiled through the years. The books are helping athletes facing medical challenges.
George Kiner will stop short of telling you he’s a walking encyclopedia of South Dakota high school sports history.
“I should be, but my memory is going to pot,” Kiner said.
Kiner has compiled and edited 18 books of South Dakota sports history, filled with stories, statistics and scores, stretching back decades.
“I fish a lot, but you can’t fish 24-hours out of the day, so this gives me a lot, this gives me something to do,” Kiner said.
Kiner is a founder of the non-profit Coaches Against Cancer and proceeds from the sales of his books help athletes and their families struggling with medical problems. For Kiner, the cause is personal. His close friend, sports referee Dave Prohl died of cancer nearly 20 years ago.
“When he was fighting his cancer, we went over to visit him, to Rochester, and you go in there, I mean, that’s an eye-opener. Little babies that are on radiation treatment,” Kiner said.
This is the basketball court where Kiner coached the Sioux Fall Cossacks through the 1970s and 1980s. His legacy of helping athletes succeed in the game of life remains strong to this day.
“When you go to the state tournaments or the Howard Wood Dakota Relays or the state track meet, you know you’ll probably see Coach Kiner. He’ll be there with his stand of memory books that people love,” Sioux Vally Head Boys Basketball Coach Bill Vincent said.
Kiner says sales through the years have generated $300,000 for charities. His passion for sports and for generosity is one for the history books.
“So anything you can do to help people out, it’s just a good thing to do,” Kiner said.
Kiner’s booth will be set up under the south bleachers at Howard Wood Field both Friday and Saturday. Each book costs $20.