Tom Mix, Published June 07 2012
LaMoure great Thielges passes awayFARGO – Leon Thielges was the senior leader of the 1976 LaMoure High School boys basketball team that won the North Dakota Class B state championship.
The Loboes’ leader passed away Tuesday at the age of 54.
Thielges scored a combined 75 points at the 1976 state tournament and helped LaMoure to an undefeated mark of 29-0.
“He was one of the most intense individuals that I ever got to play with,” said 1976 Loboes teammate Bruce Shockman. “He was a good friend. He was the glue to our team in 1976.”
Thielges coached and taught mathematics for 26 years in Enderlin. He served as the head boys basketball coach from 1988-2002, and again from 2007-2010. He also had two stints as Enderlin’s head girls basketball coach and also was the head track and field coach from 1992-94.
Thielges retired from coaching and teaching last month.
“He did it all,” Enderlin Public Schools Superintendent Pat Feist said. “Leon was a super guy. As a teacher he put math in an everyday language for students. He was the kind of teacher everyone would want.”
Thielges’ funeral will be held
2 p.m. Monday at the Enderlin High School gymnasium.
After graduating from LaMoure, Thielges played football and basketball at Minot State University and then transferred to play basketball at Valley City State.
Thielges’ contributions to the Loboes’ title run in ’76 cemented his name and the town of LaMoure in Class B basketball lore. LaMoure had never qualified for the state tournament before ’76.
The Loboes starters were: Thielges, Bruce Shockman, Mark Shockman, Derold Haugen and David Olson.
Fargo Davies head boys golf coach Steve Kennedy was the sixth man for LaMoure that season and recalls Thielges as being the team’s go-to player.
“He was just a great teammate,” Kennedy said. “He was obviously our leader. He was the one that drove us. Whenever we were in trouble in a game we always looked to Leon and he always came through for us. He will be sorely missed.”
LaMoure was coached by Terry Olson and breezed through the regular season picking up a key 52-39 win over highly ranked Mott.
Jump Thielges from D1
All signs pointed to a promising season for LaMoure and once the Loboes got to state, it was complete domination.
First, there was an 88-64 win over Rolla in the first round followed by a 78-54 win over previously undefeated Lakota. The Loboes capped off one of the greatest team performances in the tournament’s history beating undefeated Newtown 86-61 in the championship game.
Thielges scored 26 points in both the semifinals and championship games.
“The thing that stands out was his will to win,” Bruce Shockman said of Thielges. “He had a knack for finding a way to win.”
Readers can reach Forum reporter
Tom Mix at (701) 241-5562