The South Dakota State Athletic Department has a lot of support in the Brookings area, the state of South Dakota, and the region as a whole.

KIKN-FM / Kickin' Country 99.1/100.5 logo
Get our free mobile app

That support was never more apparent as last week the SDSU Athletic Department announced a huge donation in honor of a former runner and community member at South Dakota State.

SDSU announced a $1 million dollar donation in memory of former SDSU runner and long-time supporter Mark Steinborn.

Here is the complete release on the amazing gift and the meaning behind the donation.

BROOKINGS S.D. – South Dakota State University and Director of Athletics Justin Sell announced on Friday, Aug. 26, that they have received a $1 million gift in memory of former student-athlete and longtime supporter, Mark Steinborn (Sparky), and has named the track at the Sanford-Jackrabbit Athletic Complex for him in his honor.

The gift was generously given by Miles and Lisa Beacom with the support of Mark's wife Carolyn and the Steinborn family. The Mark Steinborn Memorial Track will publicly be recognized at SDSU track and field's Mark Steinborn Memorial Golf Tournament on September 17. The track dedication and ribbon cutting will take place on Saturday, Jan. 21, 2023.

"I am a better person for having Sparky as a friend," Miles Beacom said of his longtime pal Mark. "He was a quiet leader, that led by example, and his work ethic was amazing. He treated everyone with respect, he truly cared about everyone and that was evident when you were able to watch him interact with others.

"SDSU was very important to Sparky. Not only for all the friends that he met while competing in track and cross country or his love for SDSU, but it is where he met the love of his life, his bride Carolyn. The two of them built an incredible family of four kids that is continuing their legacy today."

With this announcement, the Beacoms have agreed to match (up to $1 million) to the Mark Steinborn Memorial Scholarship Fund. The fund will provide scholarship resources to both the men's and women's track and field teams.

"When I heard the news about the naming of the track and the gift, I was shocked, surprised, humbled and proud," said Carolyn Steinborn. "It brought me to tears.

"Even after 40 years, some of our best friends today are teammates we met at SDSU. Mark and I could travel to Brookings at the last minute to a sporting event and always knew there would be an old teammate we could catch up with. The teammates have supported each other well beyond the days on the track. The fund created by renaming the track for Mark could be life-changing for many of the student-athletes that come through the program."

The SDSU program brought the Steinborns to South Dakota State, where, as a distance runner Mark eventually met his wife, Carolyn. His time in Brookings set up the start of a successful career caring for patients and mentoring anesthesia students.

"The gift that Miles and Lisa Beacom have provided in the name of Mark Steinborn is absolutely incredible," said Rod DeHaven, SDSU's Director of Track and Field and Cross Country. "We cannot thank them enough for their generosity.

"This gift will be a lasting reminder of the truly impactful life of Mark Steinborn. He embodied the qualities that we hope that our student-athletes will emulate. His warm personality, combined with his humor and unselfishness, had a positive impact on so many that he encountered in his personal and professional life. We all miss Sparky, but thanks to the Beacoms, his legacy will have an impact for generations of Jackrabbits."

Mark Steinborn found plenty of time to spend outdoors even following his days as a South Dakota State distance runner. He enjoyed hunting, fishing, golf outings with friends and anything involving family time. Being raised in Sioux Falls and eventually returning to the city, Mark and Carolyn Steinborn watched their family grow to six.

"They raised four great kids and that takes great parents," said Lisa Beacom. "They were and are very giving of their time and talents to their church, school, friends and the world on several mission trips.

"I hope anyone who participates on that track (at South Dakota State) gives the sport and their life their best. This is what Mark did in his life."

The Mark Steinborn Memorial Track is located inside the Sanford-Jackrabbit Athletic Complex. The facility is the home of the South Dakota track and field program and hosts multiple indoor meets every season.

"Mark and Carolyn are such special people," Miles Beacom said. "Lisa and I are investing in the Mark Steinborn Memorial Track and the scholarships because of the friendships between the Beacom and Steinborn families, their kindness to others, their love for this sport, their work ethic, their drive to do the right things and their commitment to church and community. They are just incredible role models for young athletes across the state of South Dakota."

The Mark Steinborn Memorial Golf Tournament, sponsored by SDSU track and field, takes place Sept. 17 at Lake Region Golf Club in Arlington, South Dakota. Registration begins at 9:30 a.m. and tee-off is set for 10:30 a.m. To register, contact David St. John at

To make a gift to the Mark Steinborn Scholarship, visit the SDSU Foundation link and under designation type in "Mark Steinborn."


10 Reasons NOT To Move To Sioux Falls ;)

Sioux Falls is a special place. There is really no place else in the world quite like it. It is a unique spot of shining joy on the edge of the plains. But, if someone is planning to move here, there are a few things to know...


More From KIKN-FM / Kickin' Country 99.1/100.5