ABERDEEN, S.D. – Newly retired Northern State University Athletic Director Bob
Olson will serve as parade marshal for Saturday’s Gypsy Day Parade.
The 97th annual Gypsy Day Parade starts at 9 a.m. on Main Street. Each year, distinguished guests are selected to lead the parade. This year, those distinguished guests will be Olson and his wife, Cheri.
Olson retired in May after a 37-year career at NSU that saw him fill the roles of student, athlete, professor, coach and administrator. He served the Wolves in the role of athletic director for the past 13 years, taking over the position in 1999 for the retired Jim Kretchman. Prior to that, he coached the NSU men’s basketball team for 14 seasons, taking the Wolves to national prominence on both the NAIA and NCAA Division II levels. Olson amassed a career record of 305-129 and coached his players to 27 all-conference, five NAIA All-America, one NCAA II First Team All-America and eight Academic All-America honors.
Under his direction, the Wolves made five NAIA national tournament appearances, including championship national runner-up runs in 1994 and 1995. The program’s success at the NAIA level translated seamlessly to the NCAA Division II stage, as the Wolves earned national tournament berths in each of their first four seasons under the NCAA umbrella. Those post-season runs were highlighted by a North Central Region championship and Elite Eight berth in the 1997-98 season.
An Aberdeen native, Olson attended Northern State from 1973-1977 and played collegiate basketball under the legendary coach Bob Wachs. He earned his bachelor’s degree from NSU in December 1977 and returned to the hardwood as an assistant coach under Wachs for the 1977-78 season and again from 1979-1982, earning his master’s degree from Northern in 1980.
Olson was recognized as the recipient of the Kretchman Coaching Award by the NSU Foundation at the 2011 Gypsy Day celebration.
Photo: Bob Olson