The Kurtiss Riggs era with the Storm is over after one final amazing run

Storm Head Coach/GM has incredible 2 decades of success with the team
Published: Aug. 7, 2023 at 11:15 PM CDT
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) -Saturday night’s championship game was the last of an amazing 20 year career for Kurtiss Riggs as head coach of the Storm.

After leading USF to its first title in 1996 as the Cougars QB, he coached the Storm to 11 league championships. Its the end to a truly incredible era for the Wyoming native.

Zach Borg has more on our Karls TV & Appliance Athlete of the Week.

”It’s always the person that goes undefeated that gets coach of the year. And I’ve always thought my best coaching years are the years that we’re not very good, you struggle, but you find a way.” Former Storm Head Coach Kurtiss Riggs says.

Those years can be hard to remember since Kurtiss Riggs began at the University of Sioux Falls in 1996 as a quarterback who set nearly every passing program record and team with Kalen DeBoer to lead USF to a 25-1 record and NAIA National title in two years.

After briefly playing for the Sioux Falls Storm he would go into coaching and become their head coach in 2003. Having been in their shoes himself made it easier for Riggs to connect with his players.

“He’s really upfront. He’s really blunt. So there’s no fluff to it. He’s going to tell you his honest opinion whether it’s harsh or not. And deep down inside it’s for the better but a lot of guys don’t like the approach, the way it’s delivered. But the message is sound.” Riggs’ former Storm player and assistant coach Andre Field says.

That would be proven on the field over 20 seasons with 16 championship game appearances and 11 league titles.

“I think maybe we took it for granted that people just assumed every year we would be winning championships but it was a lot of hard work.” Riggs says.

Yet there was always more to Kurtiss than the Storm. He taught and was an assistant coach at both Roosevelt and USF, eventually opening up the Riggs Premier Academy where he coached and mentored hundreds of high school athletes. All the while passing up opportunities to move into bigger coaching jobs.

“I got to see my kids continue to do all their activities. Not have to move around from place to place to place.” Kurtiss says.

With those kids grown, and the COVID pandemic making life in the IFL more difficult, Riggs was ready to move on.

“I’d like to try something new. I’d love that next challenge. Now, for me to be able to go out at my time, and helping transition to the people that I’d like to see be in place, it’s pretty surreal.” Kurtiss says.

And, by Riggs own definition, he ended with one of his best coaching jobs. With his son Peyton working as his offensive coordinator, a Storm team that was .500 for much of the year caught fire at the end of the season and reached the IFL Championship game.

“The challenge of getting guys together at the beginning of the year, and seeing what type of team you have, I mean he’s the mastermind at it. And I know he’s off to bigger and better things.” Says Riggs’ former QB at USF and with the Storm Lorenzo Brown Jr.

Kurtiss’ future might include join his best friend DeBoer as an assistant at the University of Washington.

“I don’t think we could have ever predicted or imagined. You know I just enjoyed to play and I really enjoyed to coach. We had a lot of fun.” Riggs says.

Wherever comes next, the legacy Riggs leaves in Sioux Falls and South Dakota won’t be going anywhere.

Zach Borg, Dakota News Now Sports.