Oas to receive Terry Ryan Distinguished Service Award
He was never a coach at Dakota State during his 25-year educational career. Dr. Robert 'Bob' Oas, however, was just as involved in Dakota State athletics as any coach here.
That involvement gets rewarded this Friday night when Oas receives the Terry Ryan Distinguished Service Award during halftime of the Trojans-Valley City State men's basketball game at the DSU Fieldhouse.
Oas came to Dakota State in 1969 and was the Director of Student Teaching, Dean of the College and professor in the education department.
He also served at one time or another as chairperson of the Division of Education, Physical Education and Behavioral Sciences. Oas also was the Faculty Athletic Representative (FAR) for 20 years.
Additionally, Oas was also President of the South Dakota-Iowa Athletic Conference in 1984-85 and 1985-86.
Upon his retirement in 1994, Oas became Professor Emeritus of Education. Shortly after retirement, Oas and Dr. Reed Eaton were parade marshals for the Trojan Days homecoming parade. Two years later, DSU honored Oas as its' Outstanding Educator.
Oas' contribution to DSU Athletics went beyond his various titled positions. He helped out in a variety of ways during many, many athletic events. Oas feels that one of his most cherished contributions was as the scoreboard timekeeper at the Trojan football games. He worked the clock for almost 30 years, including a 10-year stint after his official retirement.
"I always came to the games early to make sure the darn electricity was on," smiled Oas. "If it was a 1:30 ball game, I'd be there by 12:30 or soon after that. After all, there were a couple of times that the electricity wasn't on when I got there."
Oas' love of athletics goes back to his years at Woonsocket where he grew up and graduated from high school in 1948. "I always enjoyed athletics," he admitted. "I played both football and basketball during school and baseball in the summer."
He became actively involved in Dakota State's athletics when he was asked to become the Faculty Athletic Representative. "When they approached me to be the FAR, I was glad to do it," said Oas.
Oas worked with Dakota State coaches and athletic directors, including Tom Farrell who would later replace Oas as FAR. "I really enjoyed working with Tom," cited Oas. "He really helped me. Some of the coaches who came to Dakota State thought their only responsibility was coaching. Tom and I wanted to tell them to fulfill their responsibilities as instructors, too."
Farrell, a recent DSU retiree, said, "Bob was a fantastic mentor. He was deeply concerned about the development of students both academically and athletically here at Dakota State and with the conference."
Besides being associated with Farrell, Oas was glad to have the opportunity to work with Judy Dittman and Buzz Stevenson.
"I remember Coach Dittman and how she built up a successful women's basketball program," said Oas. "Also, one of the best hires was Buzz Stevenson. He has done an outstanding job bringing quality people, both staff and student-athletes. He worked at making sure all of his student-athletes were eligible. You can't say that all about coaches."
He added, "Even now, I don't miss many athletic events. I am really enthused to see Coach (Gary) Garner turning the men's basketball program around. Coach (Josh) Anderson faced a huge burden taking over the football program. I think he has worked hard increasing the numbers. There is a good possibility for him to make this program successful."
In between graduating from Woonsocket High School and coming to Madison, Oas attended both University of South Dakota and Northern State University where he received his bachelor's degree in education in 1957. He then earned his master's degree in education from South Dakota State University in 1962 and doctorate degree in education from USD in 1969.
He also taught business education and industrial arts courses at Humboldt High School (1957-63) and was principal and then superintendent at Alexandria High School (1963-67) before undertaking course work to obtain his doctorate degree from USD.
Terry Ryan, the Distinguished Award's namesake and long-time basketball scorekeeper, said, "Bob is very deserving of this honor due to his dedicated service to Dakota State's athletics. It is long overdue."
Oas resides in Madison, S.D. with his wife Virginia.
Dan Holsworth, Dakota State University Athletics Assistant, Edited by Nick Huntimer, Dakota State University Sports Information Director