Roger Schaffer grew up in the small South Dakota town of Ramona. He jokes that he was in the top 12 of his graduating high school class, considering there were only 12 students. He played basketball during high school and was recruited by Coach Dwane Clodfelter to play for the men’s basketball team at the University of South Dakota. Before Schaffer arrived at USD, Coach Clodfelter had coached the men’s basketball team to become the 1958 national champions.

“Coach Clodfelter gave me an opportunity,” Schaffer said. “Without that opportunity, I don’t know what my life would’ve been.”

The chance given by Coach Clodfelter resulted in Schaffer teaching and coaching at the high school level for 33 years. He began his career in 1966 and over the years taught in Elk Point, Yankton and Marshall, Minnesota. He retired from coaching in 1999 and then from teaching in 2000. He chose to teach one more year so he could say he taught across five decades.

Along with playing for the men’s basketball team, Schaffer studied history education and physical education at USD and completed his undergraduate degree in 1965. He immediately returned to be a graduate assistant to Coach Clodfelter and earned his master’s degree in 1966.

“Coach Clodfelter gave me an opportunity,” Schaffer said. “Without that opportunity, I don’t know what my life would’ve been.”

Schaffer recalls many new opportunities as a result of playing basketball at USD: his first time flying on an airplane and his first time attending a professional football game (Detroit vs. Chicago). But he also recounts the life lessons taught by Coach Clodfelter – to be a teacher first and a coach second – and the influence he had on not only Schaffer, but many other young men and women.

“He showed interest in me and maintained that interest, not only on the basketball court, but he was concerned what we did academically,” Schaffer shared. “That’s an important thing for a coach to be concerned with – the life of the athletes with whom he works.”

Now, Schaffer wants to give back to USD and honor the legacy of Coach Clodfelter. Some of Schaffer’s former teammates helped create the Dwane Clodfelter Scholarship Endowment, which supports men’s and women’s basketball and track & field. During the university’s second annual giving day in February, Unite for USD, Schaffer has committed to contributing to the endowment and encourages others to join him in giving back to USD.

Schaffer recognizes how Coach Clodfelter shaped his life through his teaching and coaching and hopes that along with his contribution, others will choose to give in honor of Coach Clodfelter or another coach who made an impact in their life.

“I hope we’re now in a position that we can now do something to get the scholarship fully funded so that it can go on forever,” Schaffer said.

On February 12-13 during Unite for USD, you can join Schaffer by donating to the Dwane Clodfelter Scholarship Endowment. All funds raised for this endowment will support student-athletes in men’s and women’s basketball and track & field.