Scorekeeper Tallies Honor

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Dan Stapleton is full of stories.

After being involved in youth sports for the past 30 years he has plenty to share, but on Oct. 16 he will become the story when he is inducted into the Lumberjack Hall of Fame.

Dan Stapleton is being inducted in the Lumberjack Hall of Fame at the annual Booster Club Athletic Auction Saturday, Oct. 16. He was chosen because of his decades-long involvement in youth sports.

Dan Stapleton is being inducted in the Lumberjack Hall of Fame at the annual Booster Club Athletic Auction Saturday, Oct. 16. He was chosen because of his decades-long involvement in youth sports.

Mr. Stapleton was chosen for the honor for his years of work with local baseball, softball and basketball programs. The award is presented to individuals who are involved with St. Maries youth in some form, whether it be through coaching or volunteering within a sports program, according to Lynn Masterson, president of the Lumberjack Booster Club.

“Dan’s been on our list for quite some time, and he fits it perfectly,” Mrs. Masterson said. “He was a no-brainer. He definitely deserves it.”

The awards ceremony serves as the club’s largest fundraiser, and all proceeds benefit athletic programs at St. Maries High School. This year’s event is Friday, Oct. 16, at the Elks Lodge. Social hour begins at 5 p.m. with dinner and an auction to follow.

Mr. Stapleton graduated from Lakeland Tech in 1966 and moved to St. Maries in 1970. He worked for the St. Maries River Railroad until his retirement in 2004. He became involved in the adult softball league in the late 1970s. He umpired, played and eventually ran the league and was instrumental in building additional fields to accommodate the growing interest.

As his son got older, Mr. Stapleton became involved in Little League and transitioned into the high school baseball program after being invited to serve as assistant coach. While working with the Little League program, he umpired, coached and served as both president and vice president on the board. He also helped build and maintain the ball fields at city park.

Known throughout the community as “Digger Dan,” Mr. Stapleton has remained involved in high school baseball, working with several coaches throughout the past two decades. But it was during the first few years, while working with Coach Scott Ramsay, that he earned his nickname.

“Oh, let me tell you that story,” he said. “When Scott was coaching and his oldest was two or three, the whole team would go up to Scott’s house to watch baseball, to study the game. One day, his son was playing in the sandbox with a toy bulldozer named Digger Dan. He pointed to me and said, ‘that should be Digger Dan,’ and the name stuck.”

As evidence of the longevity of Mr. Stapleton’s involvement with St. Maries athletics, that little boy from the sandbox is now the head baseball coach at Whitworth College.

Some of Mr. Stapleton’s fondest memories were collected when he coached one season of girls’ softball.

“That was the best thing I ever did; those were my girls,” he said. “I had been through all this, and along the way you learn how to do stuff, how to coach, but you get out there with a bunch of girls and – well, that was an experience.”

Of the many years he has dedicated to the sports programs in town, it’s the time that he has invested in high school basketball that might be most impressive, from a numbers standpoint. Mr. Stapleton has served as scorekeeper for the program for 29 consecutive years. He started with the boys’ program and eventually took over scorekeeping duties for the girls’ games as well.

But for him, it is simply what you do when investing in a community.

“I just did this stuff, it was no big deal,” Mr. Stapleton said. “That’s how my folks were; if there were games, they were there. It’s just what you do. It was nothing for me; it was for the kids.”

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