Rob Klinkefus returned to South Dakota State in 2013-14 for his eighth year on Scott Nagy’s staff. Klinkefus came to SDSU from Buena Vista University in Storm Lake, Iowa, where he worked as an assistant coach from 2001-06 under Brian Van Haaften, one of the most successful coaches in the history of Division III basketball.
After spending his first two seasons coaching the Jackrabbit guards, Klinkefus returned to the familiar position of coaching the post players in 2008-09, something he did with great success in the past, coaching a total of eight all-conference posts and one conference MVP in his six years of coaching the position.
“I’m incredibly excited to coach this group of guys,” said Klinkefus. “They worked hard in the offseason doing all of the things needed to put themselves in position for a successful season.
In addition to coaching the post players, Klinkefus’ on court duties include game preparations for the Jackrabbit opponents and implementing the offensive and defensive schemes. He also handles individual workouts throughout the year.
“Rob is an extremely detail orientated coach, which compliments my coaching style well,” said Nagy. “As we implement our offensive and defensive schemes for each game, Rob is always looking for ways to make us more efficient.”
Recruiting though remains his top priority, as the Jackrabbits look to continue the success of signing some of the top players in the Midwest to South Dakota State.
“Rob’s recruited for a long time, and sometimes those days on the road can get long, but I think Rob thinks of it as a perk,” said Nagy. “He loves getting out and talking with these kids, and I can’t even begin to explain how much of an asset that is to our program.”
Klinkefus’ coaching career started in 2000, when he took an Associate Head Coach job at Storm Lake St. Mary’s High School. After a year at St. Mary’s, Klinkefus returned to Buena Vista as an assistant for the five most successful years in the program’s history. During his tenure at BVU, the Beavers posted a 115-33 overall record, a winning percentage of nearly 80 percent. During that same span, the Beavers won five straight IIAC tournament titles with a perfect 15-0 record and qualified for five straight national tournaments. During those five years, Klinkefus coached a total of 15 all-conference players and three conference MVPs.
Klinkefus begins his fifth season at South Dakota State, where he helped lead the program to the top half of The Summit League in just its third year in the conference. The Jackrabbits look to continue that climb to the top this year, as they once again enter the season picked to finish in the top half of the league.
As an athlete, Klinkefus’ accolades started rolling in during his prep career at Harlan High School. He lettered three times in baseball, made the all-area team and earned all-district honors his junior and senior years. He led the team to the state tournament as a junior, and then capped his baseball career with a state title as a senior.
Klinkefus did most of his damage on the gridiron, racking up a 20-2 record in two years as a starter. He earned first team all-state quarterback his senior year, and helped lead the Cyclones to the Iowa Class 3-A state title his sophomore and senior years.
The football honors continued to roll in at Buena Vista, where he started at quarterback all four years. The Beavers named him their newcomer-of-the-year as a freshman, and by the time he graduated with a B.A. in Secondary Education in 2000, he ranked third all-time in total offense.
Before leaving Buena Vista for South Dakota State, Klinkefus earned a Master of Science degree in Education from Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa.