Alumnus creates BHSU scholarship

Pictured is John Heck. Courtesy photo

SPEARFISH — Former Black Hills State University (BHSU) Yellow Jacket basketball player John Heck, part owner of the Stadium Sports Grill in Spearfish, has established a scholarship at BHSU.

The John Heck Athletic Scholarship will be awarded for the first time this fall to a member of the BHSU men’s basketball team.

Steve Meeker, vice president for University Advancement at BHSU, said Heck is a great BHSU alum and fan who has served on the Yellow Jacket Foundation for many years, supporting scholar-athletes by funding athletic scholarships and improving athletic facilities.

“John has been a very good supporter of BHSU for many years. He not only supports the basketball program, but has supported all of the athletic programs and fine art programs. We’re very appreciative of his support,” says Meeker.

Heck graduated from BHSU in 1968 with a double major in art and industrial art education.

“I enjoyed my years at Black Hills State,” says Heck, who is a mainstay at the women’s and men’s basketball home games.  

Following his graduation from BHSU, Heck taught at schools in Selby and Herreid, S.D. Heck, a talented guitar player and singer, played professionally on and off throughout the years. In 1975, he and his wife, Loretta Jo, Class of 1978, formed the Heck Trio and began playing regionally until 1984. Another BHSU alum, Bill Robinson, was also part of the Trio.

During this time, Heck’s day job was in residential and commercial painting. He worked for Black Hills Painting Inc. before eventually buying the business. Heck and his business partner Clair Donovan, who also attended BHSU, founded the Stadium Sports Grill, a Spearfish mainstay, in 1993.

“When we opened the Stadium, I tried to do both the bar and the painting business for about six months before selling the business that wasn’t as much fun,” jokes Heck.

The John Heck Athletic Scholarship will be awarded annually to a full-time student actively participating in basketball at BHSU.

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