Joe Glenn is retiring


University of South Dakota head coach Joe Glenn will announce his retirement at a press conference Monday. (P&D File Photo)


Joe Glenn is stepping aside.

The University of South Dakota football coach will announce his retirement at an 11 a.m. press conference today (Monday) in Vermillion, the school announced in a press release Sunday afternoon.

Glenn, 66, went 12-34 in his four seasons at his alma mater, helping nudge the Coyotes closer this season toward the FCS playoffs. Having gone winless in the Missouri Valley Football Conference a year ago, USD won three league games this season – including the signature upset at North Dakota State. The season, though, ended with consecutive losses to South Dakota State and Illinois State.

In 28 seasons as a collegiate head coach, Glenn won 200 games (the 76th coach in NCAA history to reach that mark) and won three national championships (two at Northern Colorado, one at Montana).

He was hired at USD in 2011 to help turn the program around as it headed into the Missouri Valley. In his first season (2012), the Coyotes went 1-10, with an 0-8 record in conference play. A year later, they went 4-8, and then came a 2-10 record in 2014 – with another winless record in Valley action.

USD announced that Glenn and athletic director David Herbster would have no further comment until today’s press conference. Players, though, took to social media to express their gratitude for Glenn.

Sophomore offensive lineman Ed Kennedy: “It’s been such an honor to play for Coach Glenn for the past 3 years. What an incredible man, leader, and role model.”

Senior defensive lineman Drew Iddings: “It was an honor to get to play with him as my coach! Hope nothing but the best for him!”

Senior offensive lineman Thomas McGuire: “A great coach and an even better man. Thank you Coach Glenn!”

Caitlin Duffy ready for USD debut


USD's Caitlin Duffy does an interview at Monday's media day. (James D. Cimburek/P&D)

USD’s Caitlin Duffy does an interview at Monday’s media day. (James D. Cimburek/P&D)

It’s been 20 months since Caitlin Duffy played in a college basketball game.

That’s the life of a Division I transfer. There’s the excitement of landing at a new school – in her case, the University of South Dakota – but then the realization sets in that you have sit out an entire season.

That was the situation Duffy, a Rapid City native, faced after she left Colorado State. Her last game with the Rams was in March 2014, and when she takes the court for USD in tonight’s (Friday) season opener at Utah, it will have been 20 months.

She’s more than ready, she said this week.

“I wasn’t just totally sitting out, so that was good, but I still haven’t been in a real game in a year,” said Duffy, a 5-foot-11 junior guard. “So there’s a lot of pent-up energy.

“Hopefully I can channel that the best way I can.”

Channeling became a big part of Duffy’s 2013-14 season at USD.

Sure, she could practice with the Coyotes – who would go on to reach the WNIT – and by all accounts she was a force in those practices, but there was no other outlet. If she had been injured and couldn’t play at all, that would have been one thing, but being able to play but in a sense not play? That became frustrating.

A message from head coach Amy Williams played a key role for Duffy, she said. The message was essentially, look at practices as your games.

“I could put my competitive juices into that, because I didn’t have an outlet for it,” Duffy said. “I took it as a growth experience mentally.”

Duffy wasn’t the only transfer in that position, though. Abigail Fogg, a 6-foot-4 transfer from American University, was also only able to practice last season for the Coyotes. And she too is eligible this season.

“It was frustrating for them and for me, it always is,” Williams said. “But to continue to focus on the fact that this is a great opportunity to improve as players and learn our system, it was good for both of them in the long run.”

Duffy, in particular, brings to the Coyote roster a rather extensive successful Division I history.

She spent two seasons at Colorado State and averaged 9.4 points and 4.1 rebounds as a sophomore, earning Mountain West Conference Sixth Player of the Year honors.

Going to a new school when you barely saw the floor is one thing, but it’s a little different when you’ve established yourself at the D-I level and suddenly have to bide your time.

Yet, as Duffy would tell you, the redshirt season may have actually been a blessing in disguise.

“Now, looking back, if I hadn’t gotten that year away, the transition would’ve been more difficult,” she said. “It gave me time to get to know a new system, new people, a new school; everything.”

But yes, it was hard to sit there and watch her teammates take the floor on game day.

“It doesn’t mean it wasn’t difficult, especially when games started,” Duffy said. “There was always a light at the end of the tunnel.”

It also helped that she was surrounded by what she calls a family atmosphere in Vermillion and with the USD women’s basketball program.

“Of anyone I’ve met, coach Williams and this staff does a phenomenal job of ensuring that everybody feels like their role is important,” Duffy said. “Whatever that is, I’m ready.”

Q&A with USD tight end Aaron Ramsey


USD tight end Aaron Ramsey catches a pass during a 2014 game. (P&D File Photo)

USD tight end Aaron Ramsey catches a pass during a 2014 game. (P&D File Photo)

VERMILLION – Aaron Ramsey saw his promising redshirt freshman season cut short by a knee injury last fall.

He had been billed as one of the top-catching tight ends in the Missouri Valley Football Conference, and through six games showed he could be a weapon: 12 catches, 225 yards, 0 TD, but 18.8 yards per grab.

Then came the knee injury.

And then came the comeback, following surgery.

Ramsey, a Kansas native who was once a former quarterback, caught one pass in each of the first three games this season, but was utilized more as a blocker than he was a down-field threat.

He then broke through for a 5-reception, 49-yard effort in last Saturday’s come-from-behind win over Southern Illinois. Ramsey had the game-winning 5-yard touchdown catch late in the fourth quarter that kept USD’s playoff hopes alive.

He chatted with the Press & Dakotan after Tuesday’s practice about the upcoming game with South Dakota State and coming back from the injury.

You’ve been through this game a couple times, with all that extra stuff on the side, but isn’t it nice going in with something to play for?

Oh for sure. It makes it that much better. We know what State is about and we know what we’re about, and both of us playing for a playoff spot makes it that much better.

It probably brings that game up to a different level, doesn’t it?

Last year, we had what, two wins, and our season was basically over. But adding that playoff piece to it, brings it to a whole other level.

That’s what you want to see in a rivalry game, right?

Definitely. It’s not going to be one-sided, or at least it shouldn’t be. We’d like it to be on our side, but it’ll probably be a close game.

Does it make a big difference than it’s a home game for you guys?

I think it does. Being in the Dome is awesome. Nobody likes playing up there (smiles). We’re not fans of that field. Definitely being here with our fans and the Dome atmosphere is huge.

What was that like last week for you, getting more involved in the pass game and playing a big role in the win?

It was good; felt good getting back to how it was last year before I got hurt. I’ve been grinding and I had to work out a few kinks from the surgery. It felt good to actually contribute, and in a big way.

Were there hurdles to overcome to get back in the flow?

The mental aspect was a big thing for me. They always talked to me about how the knee was fine, but the mental part was going to be hard. And I didn’t realize how hard it was going to be. Coaches would keep at me about doing this or doing that, and it’s been meeting with different coaches and working on different things.

Was the injury always in the back of your mind?

I think subconsciously. It wasn’t one of those things where I thought, ‘It’s going to hurt now,’ but even the coaches could tell that maybe I was a step slower because of it. Playing with the knee brace, it has definitely taken some getting used to. I didn’t wear it for most of the off-season, to try to get ready to play without it. But when it came time to play, I thought I better wear it. Nine games, I guess that’s what it took.

And nine games in and two more to go. What’s the key to beating South Dakota State?

Holding on to the football, big time. Defense has played great all year. They’ve given us the ball back, like last week. For us, it’s don’t turn the ball over on offense. Keep their offense off the field as much as possible and give guys like Gink (Andrew Van Ginkel) and Drew Iddings more time to do some damage.