Randy Kochenderfer was born in Hot Springs, South Dakota on
April 29, 1953. He was the youngest of three and the only boy.
Being the son of a teacher and Superintendent of Schools, the
Kochenderfer's moved every 2-4 years to various small towns in
South Dakota. In 1966, Randy and his family moved to Sioux
Falls, where they lived for 47 years.
As a youngster, Randy loved hats! It didn't matter what kind of
hat; he was known to wear baseball hats, football helmets,
fireman hats, police hats, hard hats, military hats, and more.
His family remembers him going to a basketball game in Fairfax,
wearing a WW2 gas mask!
Randy was small for his age, but always gave 100% to the sports
of baseball, basketball,
and track. It was at the age of 13, when the Kochenderfer's
moved to Sioux Falls, that Randy became interested in tennis.
His Uncle, Dr. Art Kilness,( Augustana Hall of Fame athlete )
started him on the courts at McKennan Park. He had the build,
the discipline, and the love of tennis from the very beginning.
It became a passion for Randy. He and Art, and his father "Koke"
would volley for hours at McKennan Park, during the heat of the
South Dakota summers. If his parents couldn't find him, they
could rest assured he would have found a few players at the
park, with whom to volley, or play some serious tennis. His
family still remembers those skinny, but strong "bird legs"
attached to a huge pair of feet, flying towards the net, then
reversing for a kill at mid court. As he developed physically,
Randy had strong legs and he was quick, confident, bold, and
untiring. Randy was known to be extremely calm and cool on the
court, with the integrity of the best in the game, and was
highly respected by his fellow competitors.
Dummermuth remembers friend Randy Kochenderfer
As a Lincoln Patriot, Randy was a
two-time high school state doubles champion with Bill
Clayton in 70 and 71, and a finalist in 69. The 1971
Patriots were state champions and were honored as
contributors to tennis by the South Dakota Tennis Hall
of Fame in 2009.
As an Augustana Viking, following a
9-1 season, Randy was a finalist at Flight 2 singles and
captured the Flight 1 conference doubles championship
with Mark Van Hoef. Randy was the conference finalist
in Flight 1 singles in 74, and became one of eight
Augie players ever to capture the North Central
Conference Flight one singles championships in 1975.
After college, Randy continued his
outstanding doubles play, reaching the finals of the SD
Open in 1973 with Jim Van Gerpen, in 1974 with Marty
Johnson, and in 1976 with Ron York.
Randy is a second generation member
of the Augustana Sports Hall of Fame. His dad, Maurice,
or Koke (34) was inducted in 1972.
Randy and his Lincoln High
Teammates from the 1971 State Championship team were
awarded the SD Tennis Achievement Award in 2009 for
their unbeaten season.
Randy attended Patrick Henry Junior High, and Lincoln High
School, where he continued the love of the game. In high school
he fondly remembered double teams championships with Billy
Clayton as his partner, but also as a competitive rival. He also
went toe to toe with the highly respected Marty Johnson. He
started at Augustana the fall of 1971, and coach Ole Odney
respected his drive and talent. He worked summers at the
Westward Ho Country Club, as a tennis instructor. He also
learned to string rackets, in the days of cat-gut and wooden
frames. He drove a rusty, noisy 1953 Chevy that he had
hand-painted bright yellow, and was probably the oldest car in
the country club parking lot. In 1973 Randy and Mark Van Hoef
won the No.1 NCC doubles championship. In April 1974 he and Dave
Dummermuth were the top men's Augie players. In that year, Randy
was the conference runner up to the great Marty Johnson. In 1975
Randy won the No.1 singles championship at the NCC, and became
one of eight Augie players to capture the crown. Randy majored
in math at Augustana, and after graduation he enrolled at the
University of Minnesota and studied architecture, and continued
to play tennis. One summer he spent a glorious time traveling
through Europe with his family. He brought one pair of jeans,
two tennis racquets, and a pair of "whites". He played casually
in at least 8 countries and delighted in expanding his interest
in architecture. He later moved to San Francisco, where he
started a private architectural firm in San Rafael, California,
and became proficient in Toastmaster's.
Randy never married. In 1987 he was diagnosed with malignant
melanoma, which was removed, and his family breathed a sigh of
relief. Six years later, he developed severe headaches, then
seizures, and it was determined that the melanoma had
metastasized to his lungs and brain. After multiple radiation
treatments, which were a futile endeavor, he passed away on
December 28, 1993. Randy was 40 years old. On October 10, 1997,
Randy was posthumously inducted into the Augustana Athletic Hall
of Fame. Photo (right): Chris Dummermuth,
Coach Ole Odney, and Randy at the Augustana College Courts,
If he were here today, he would be grateful for this honor, but
also very humbled by it. He would give honor to his coaches and
to his competitors. He would thank them and his family for their
love and support and their belief in his abilities as a tennis
player. Then he would go out on these courts, at the age of 62,
and teach these young and eager children how to pursue their
dreams of a future in the great game of tennis, to the best of