Sep. 15—Much like a pillar, a coach's administrative role in high school sports contributes to the foundation of young athletes' talents and maturity. These special individuals provide themselves as a compass on their athletes' progressive journey, only asking for their dedication and effort.
Former Dickinson High School coach and educator David Michaelson has coached and taught for 39 years at Dickinson High School. He served as the Midgets wrestling head coach for 25 years, but had involvement in a variety of their other programs including, volleyball, football, and both girls and boys basketball and track and field. His most recent accolade was his induction into the North Dakota High School Coaches Association Hall of Fame back in July, for the decades of coaching and support he has offered the youth athletes in Southwest North Dakota.
Michaelson first realized his love of coaching when he was attending Dickinson State University playing football and being on the wrestling team.
"I decided I wanted to be a coach when I was around some really good coaches. I fell into all that, I was so lucky that coaches saw something in me and recruited me from little Velva, North Dakota," Michaelson said. "I started to gravitate towards that field of study and I haven't regretted it since. It was the best choice I made."
During his athletic career at Dickinson State, he was a part of multiple conference championship teams; once with football in 1981 and twice with wrestling in 1979 and 1981. Looking back on fond memories, Michaelson recounts the influence that his coaches, Henry Biesot and Terry Burgess, had on him when discovering his passion.
"We did win some games and we did beat our arch rivals Minot State. I was pretty much shunned by the Minot State guys," Michaelson said. "When recruiting was happening, they basically didn't think I could play for them until maybe I was a junior or senior. Well, I got started for Dickinson State and we beat Minot State that first year so it was very satisfying."
During his time at Dickinson State, Michaelson gained more than just yardage on the field, but an education in the classroom that he would carry with him through his career. He double-majored in History and Physical Education and got a Drivers Education minor.
"All of those degrees served me well and Dickinson State allows you to do those things and diversify. You can play more than one sport, you can go into multiple majors and people here will work with you," Michealson said. "It was so good for me to be able to do that ...They truly care about education and sports are a part of that education."
Michealson's three younger brothers, Tim, Paul, and Chuck, would follow in his footsteps and play football for Dickinson State. As a big brother, It is something that he has held dear, for having a positive influence on his siblings and being able to welcome them to Dickinson's Community.
He has never forgotten the support and guidance — or what he calls blessings — that he has found here in Dickinson and at Dickinson State. It has been a big reason why he serves as an executive board member of Blue Hawks Touchdown booster club.
"For the 39 years I have been coaching I have received tremendous support. In this community people are so willing to back their sports teams. Whether it be on a business or a personal level it is just an incredible place," Michaelson said. "That is my way of giving back. Of course it's for a team that I played for, but I love it. You want to help people like Pete Stanton and his program. You want to help Dickinson State because they gave so much."
After college, Michaelson was hired at Dickinson High School in the fall of 1982 to begin his long and fulfilling career. He started off as the girls basketball head coach for the first five years and then started coaching wrestling in the winters. He also was an assistant coach for both the girls and boys track and field teams and football.
"I would be remiss If I did not mention two high school coaches that I had the fortune of working with and being mentored by. That is Jack Carrolson, who passed away in 2003 and Roger Stone," Michaelson said. "Both those gentlemen were exceptional mentors in the ways to do things. I couldn't have worked for two better people. Good people, but great coaching minds."
Carrolson was the track and field head coach and Stone led the football team. Michaelson assisted both of them in coaching to add to his experience and his accolades. Over the years Michaelson has achieved five boy's track and field state titles, a football state title and a wrestling regional team title. Twice, his wrestling team were the state runner-ups and he received NDHSCA State Class A Wrestling Coach of the Year in 2003 and the Regional Class A Wrestling Coach of the Year four times; 1994, 1996, 1998 and 2003.
He would add to his contribution by also assisting Dickinson as the game announcer for well over 20 years for several of their programs. It first started with volleyball matches, but would expand to announcing boys and girls basketball games. He also has announced local regional baseball tournaments and wrestling matches in the Bismarck community.
"The main reason I started announcing was I have some really good friends in coaching and I like to help and support their programs," Michaelson said. "When you show some excitement when they shoot a three-point shot or they get a kill in volleyball, I really think it adds to the experience."
After retirement Michaelson also started announcing for the Dickinson wrestling team. He stepped down from the wrestling head coach position when his son started his own collegiate wrestling career at Dickinson State.
Michaelson's years of service and involvement in area sports earned him the induction of the NDHSCA 2021 Hall of Fame. Michaelson said that it came as a surprise and expressed modesty of the achievement that had him recall a past facetious conversation he had with coach Biesiot.
I really feel like it's been a great ride. I have been blessed to be able to coach girls basketball, wrestling, football, and both male and female track and field and I think that is where some of those awards come from," Michaelson said. "Coach Biesiot said to me once after I congratulated him on the NAIA Hall of Fame, 'Yeah, when you do something long enough and you get old enough, they'll feel sorry for you and give you an award.'"
"From supporting Dickinson State to Dickinson High School, this community of Southwest North Dakota has been a great place for me to be and to raise a family. I wouldn't change any of that, that's for sure," Michaelson concluded.