The 2013-14 high school basketball season in South Dakota will be the end of the most successful coaching career in state history, as Custer's Larry Luitjens has decided to retire in March.

Luitjens, the state’s all-time leader in boys basketball wins with a 733-298 career record, told the Rapid City Journal he's decided to retire to spend more time watching his granddaughter Brooke play basketball at Legend High School in Parker, Colorado:

I just keep thinking that if I don’t do it soon, I’m not going to.

I’m still having fun and I love this group of kids.

They’re just a great group of kids, but as I was sitting there watching (Brooke) on that goofy little (computer) screen, I thought that I should be there … when I watched her this summer it was just exciting. It was like watching (son) Lance all over again.

Luitjens’ coaching career started in DeSmet in the 1970's - winning state championships in 1970 and 1971.

After leaving DeSmet, he spent on season coaching in New England, North Dakota, before going to Custer.

Success followed him West, as the Wildcats won state titles 1990, 1992, 1993, 1998 and 2002.

Luitjens is a native of Britton native and a graduate of Northern State.  He was inducted into the National Federation of State High School Associations Hall of Fame last year:

There are too many things to remember to say that one thing stands out over all the rest.

I could say I had a favorite memory and then I’d have to call you back in 15 minutes to say it was a different one.


Custer opens 2013-14 season December 18th Hill City.