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Almost 70 years later, Arlo Mogck to be recognized for prep basketball career

Arlo Mogck, once a highly successful men’s basketball coach at Worthington State Junior College (now Minnesota West Community and Technical College) is about to be honored for his outstanding high school career nearly 70 years after the fact. On Aug. 28 at the Ramkota Inn in Sioux Falls, he will be inducted into the South Dakota High School Basketball Hall of Fame.

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Worthington State men's basketball coach Arlo Mogck (left) instructs one of his players during a game break. The Bluejays won the second of three consecutive state championships in 1971. (file photo)

WORTHINGTON -- High school basketball in the 1950s was nothing like it has become in the 21st century. You couldn’t get three points for a field goal, and the fast-break wasn't really a thing.

“It was more half-court basketball. You had more set plays, and things like that,” said Arlo Mogck, remembering his high school career of nearly 70 years ago.

But Mogck, once a highly successful men’s basketball coach at Worthington State Junior College (now Minnesota West Community and Technical College) is about to be honored for his outstanding high school career so many years after the fact. On Aug. 28 at the Ramkota Inn in Sioux Falls, he will be inducted into the South Dakota High School Basketball Hall of Fame.

Mogck, 84, and his wife Judy, still reside in Worthington, where they have lived since 1967 when Arlo began a 16-year coaching career with the Bluejays. Today, Arlo admits that his hearing isn’t what it used to be. He said he still isn’t sure he and Judy will be able to celebrate with the 2021 Hall of Fame class at the Ramkota, but he also said his son, Tim, who lives in Woodbury, “is bound and determined to get us over there.” Another son, Scott, who resides in Mankato, is planning to make the trip.

In high school, Arlo played for Parkston, a very small school in Class A. In 1954, Mogck, a 5-8 guard, led his team to the South Dakota state finals -- facing much larger schools along the way. Mogck ended his career with 1,259 points -- a number made even more impressive when considering that offensive-minded basketball was not then what it is today.

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In the process of compiling this story, Mogck was reminded that he must have taken an awful lot of shots.

“God, I hope THEY don’t say that!” he replied.

Nobody wants to be considered a ball hog, and of course Arlo wasn’t that at all. But as a quick, talented guard, he was someone who handled the ball a lot. And that led to some shots being taken.

The former Bluejay skipper, who was inducted into the Minnesota Hall of Fame in 2010 for his coaching, attended Southern State College after high school graduation and was chosen to All-South Dakota Intercollegiate Conference teams four times. Afterward, he coached eight years of South Dakota high school basketball before moving to Worthington.

He won a state championship for the southern Minnesota two-year college in just his third year at the helm. He finished with a 208-138 record which included a 111-54 record against divisional opponents.

Though his high school playing record happened a very long time ago, Mogck remembers it fondly.

“I played guard. I wasn’t very tall. But back then, nobody was very tall. If you were six-foot, two, you were a big center in those days,” he said.

These days, the old Bluejay coach -- nearly three-quarters of a century after the fact -- is standing tall in the eyes of the South Dakota basketball world.

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