Len Spanjers has definitely known success in his lifetime – on and off the field. He received another honor when he was inducted as the 27th member of the Jackrabbit Sports Hall of Fame during halftime ceremonies of the 78th Hobo Day football game at South Dakota State University in 1991.
Honors followed Spanjers throughout his high school and collegiate career, then on into his military career. As a sophomore guard at Milbank High School, Spanjers was named honorable mention on the South Dakota all-state football team. As a junior, he moved up to second team, and finally as a senior he was selected to the first team.
Spanjers made a big impact on the North Central Conference scene in his first varsity season in 1955, earning all-NCC honors at guard — the only sophomore on the team. Spanjers followed that with an honorable mention all-NCC selection in 1956. As a senior, he earned even loftier honors. Along with another all-NCC pick, he was named the NCC's Most Valuable Player in 1957, and was tabbed as a Little All-American as he paced the Jacks to league crown.
Originally, Spanjers, a two-way starter and punter had wanted to attend and play football at Iowa University, where his older brother, Pete, played. But, as circumstances would have it, the future Jackrabbit Hall of Famer brought his 5-9, 187-pound frame to South Dakota State.
Without a scholarship, Spanjers could not afford to go to Iowa that first year, so he enrolled at SDSU, which was coached by Ralph Ginn. In his first year, Spanjers played on the freshman football team (at this time freshman were not allowed to participate in varsity athletics). Spanjers and Wayne Haensel were co-captains that year. As seniors, Spanjers and Haensel once again teamed up together as co-captains, a combination Spanjers felt, "made quite a team."
Sfter his final collegiate season, Spanjers was contacted by two Canadian football teams. He also received a letter from the Washington Redskins noting they were interested in possibly drafting him. Spanjers, however, had other plans. He joined the armed forces, and did play one more season of football while stationed in Hawaii.
Spanjers served in Vietnam and throughout his 22 1/2 years of military service, earned numerous honors and citations, including the Distinguished Flying Cross.