Tecker hangs up his sneakersHip problems force former Tiger to forgo his senior year at South Dakota
By: Emily Kram, Superior Telegram
Former Northwestern Tiger Steve Tecker is stepping away from basketball following struggles with a persistent hip condition.
The University of South Dakota announced in April that Tecker, a 2010 graduate of Northwestern High School, will forgo his senior season of basketball with the Coyotes to rehabilitate his hips, which have caused him pain through much of his career.
“I am grateful for the opportunity I have had to play for Coach (Dave) Boots at USD for the past three years,” Tecker said. “Even though I would like to finish my career playing as a Coyote, I am looking to spend some time away from basketball to rest my hips.”
Tecker appeared in 88 games and made 20 starts for the Coyotes during the last three seasons. According to the university, he will continue to be associated with the USD basketball program as he completes his degree. Tecker is majoring in economics.
“We are very sorry to lose Steve for his senior year,” said USD head coach Dave Boots. “He has been a valuable member of our team for the past three years, and we will miss him. The condition is just too painful for him to continue, but we look forward to having him involved in a non-playing role.”
Tecker, who suffers from hip impingement, has undergone three surgeries to prolong his playing career. His first surgery followed his freshman year at Northwestern High School. The second came during his senior year of high school. The third followed his freshman season at USD, and at that time, doctors steered him away from further operations.
“I know he struggled a lot the last couple of years,” said Dan Cowley, who coached the Northwestern Tigers for 15 years before stepping down in 2011.
Even in high school, Cowley said, Tecker had to take days off because of his hips.
“I don’t think most people understand how much pain he was in just to practice,” Cowley said.
Tecker was a four-year starter for the Tigers, helping the team make back-to-back appearances in the WIAA Division 2 State Basketball Tournament in 2009 and 2010.
He missed most of his senior season due to hip surgery, but Tecker return for the playoffs and keyed the Tigers to a second-place finish at state. He averaged 20.5 points per game in the state tournament and was selected as a member of the All-Tournament team.
“I don’t know if I’ve ever been around a kid, basketball-wise, who really worked like he did,” Cowley said.
Tecker finished his career at Northwestern as the school’s all-time leading scorer, with 1,271 points.
In 2010, Tecker began playing for USD. He appeared in 31 of the Coyotes’ 33 games his freshman season and averaged 5.9 points per game.
Near the start of the season, Cowley remembers traveling to the Kohl Center to watch Tecker and the Coyotes face off against the Wisconsin Badgers.
“From the time he was young he wanted to play at the D1 level, so I’m glad he got to do that,” Cowley said.
Between his freshman and sophomore seasons at USD, Tecker had hip surgery for the third time.
Cowley said Tecker was optimistic after the surgery. The former Tiger told Cowley he felt “as good as ever.”
Tecker had another solid season as a sophomore, averaging 5.6 points and 3.7 rebounds per game, but his hip pain gradually returned.
In his junior year, Tecker appeared in 29 of 30 games and made eight starts for the Coyotes while averaging 5.3 points and 3.5 rebounds per game. Despite struggling with pain, he tied a career-high scoring performance in December with 15 points against Ball State.
For the season, Tecker shot 54 percent from the field, 77 percent from the free-throw line and had 39 assists and 22 steals.
In his three seasons with the Coyotes, Tecker accumulated 495 points, 297 rebounds, 116 assists and 59 steals.
Cowley said he’s sure Tecker is disappointed, but he expects a bright future for his former player.
“He’s a good kid, and he’s hard worker,” Cowley said. “He’ll succeed at whatever he chooses to do next.”