Cross Country Community Mourns Legend Rich Greeno
Hall Of Fame Coach Dies Monday Afternoon At Age 88
South Dakota cross country legend Rich Greeno died Monday afternoon at the age of 88
Greeno’s coaching legacy spanned six decades.
After starting the first eighteen years of his career in Philip and Yankton, he became head coach of the Sioux Falls Lincoln Patriots cross country team.
From there, a dynasty was born.
In his over twenty years with Lincoln, Greeno led the Patriots to 11 State cross country titles.
There was only one year of the 1970’s where Greeno didn’t win a state title.
His Patriots held win streaks of 87 cross country duals and 52 track meets.
In his career, Greeno finished with nineteen state titles in cross country and track.
For former runner Matt Kiesow, he said he remembers Greeno as more than coach.
“He came to my wedding, he knew when my kids were born. You just developed that relationship with him. That’s very rare,” said Kiesow.
Described as a true gentleman, Kiesow said Greeno’s caring nature went beyond a runner’s final time.
“He would go out of his way to make sure that if he didn’t know something that was going on with you, he made sure that he found out and if he could help in any way, he would do that,” said Kiesow.
After retiring from Lincoln’s head position, he was a volunteer coach at Sioux Falls College.
While at the helm, the University of Sioux Falls Cougars soared.
In 13 years at USF, “The Father of Modern Track at the University of Sioux Falls” won four conference titles.
He was also named coach of the year six times.
USF Senior Athletics Administrator Sid Kortemeyer said Greeno was the architect for creating the program.
“Here’s a person with his status, his gravitas in the community, helping a fledgling program go from literally twenty kids to nearly 100 and going from just trying to score some points in track meets to winning track meets,” said Kortemeyer.
Greeno is a member of the South Dakota Sports Hall of Fame and the National High School Sports Hall of Fame.
Kiesow said Greeno’s teaching lives on.
“Coach Greeno’s legacy will go on for years. Even though he’s not here right now, the things he’s taught, the messages he sent, the things he implanted in you as a person will get passed on for generations,” said Kiesow.
Visitation with Greeno’s family will be held Thursday from 5-7 p.m. at First United Methodist Church in Sioux Falls.
The memorial service will be Friday at 1:30 p.m. Friday at the same location.
A private interment will be held at Woodlawn Cemetery.