Odis Sheldon LeGrand, known as Oats to many, 95Published 11:14am Thursday, August 30, 2012 Updated 1:17pm Thursday, August 30, 2012
Odis was born Sept. 2, 1916, in Balfour, N.D., to Ole and Sophie LeGrand. The family left Balfour and later settled in Moorhead in 1919.
Odis attended Moorhead High School and graduated in 1935. He attended North Dakota School of Forestry in Bottineau, N.D. (1936-39) before he transferred to Moorhead State Teachers College.
He graduated from Moorhead State Teachers College in 1943. He served in the United States Air Force during World War II stationed in both the Philippines and England.
While in college, he competed in football, basketball and baseball. Outside of college, Odis continued a very good baseball career. In 1939 he played with the Fairmont, N.D., Collegians who were North Dakota state champions and played in the national tournament at Wichita, Kansas.
In 1941, he played minor league ball with the Crookston team in the Class C Northern League. His baseball career included stops as a player/manager in Borup, Detroit Lakes, Fergus Falls, Moorhead and Underwood.
During World War II, Odis also participated with the Air Force in the Armed Forces World Series.
On Jan. 22, 1942, Odis married Eunice Olson in Detroit Lakes. After serving in the Air Force, they moved to Montevideo, where Odis was a probation officer for the state.
In 1948, Odis secured his first teaching position in Felton. In 1951, they moved to Fergus Falls, where Odis completed his 40-year teaching career.
While in Fergus Falls, Odis started out teaching physical education in the elementary grades and later moved to the junior high level. He was also the city’s first recreation director, along with his teaching duties.
During his teaching years, Odis was a very successful coach. He coached high school football, basketball, wrestling and track. He spent many summers as a very successful V.F.W. and American Legion baseball coach.
Odis started the baseball program at Fergus Falls Community College in 1964, where he was also the track coach for three years.
Odis may have been best known as a sports broadcaster from 1953 through 1999, with his final game being a football game at Barnesville vs. Ottertail Central on his seventy-seventh birthday. Governor Arne Carlson decreed that day “Odis LeGrand Day”. Odis broadcasted over 4,400 sporting events including football, volleyball, basketball, wrestling, hockey, swimming, boxing, rodeo and stockcar races. His Saturday morning “Coffee with the Coaches Show” was enjoyed by many. In 1985 Odis was honored by Sports Illustrated magazine with a nice article in their November issue. He was named the “Sports Voice of Small Town America”. His second mark of fame would probably be his famous“ Board of Education.”
Odis’s career earned him many other honors starting with being inducted into the North Dakota School of Forestry Athletic Hall of Fame, the Minnesota Football Coaches Hall of Fame, the Minnesota Baseball Coaches Hall of Fame, the Minnesota Athletic Directors Hall of Fame, the Fergus Falls High School and Community College Halls of Fame and in 1978 was named the Minnesota Sports Broadcasters Association’s “Broadcaster of the Year.”
Survivors include his wife Eunice of Valley City; his brother, Glen (Marion) LeGrand of Sioux City, Iowa; a son, Steve (Terri) LeGrand of Valley City; two granddaughters Jennifer (Todd) Reiter of Maple Grove, and Stefani LeGrand of Jamestown, N.D.; four great-granddaughters; three step-grandchildren; and four step-great-grandchildren.
Odis was preceded in death by his parents; and his two sisters, Arlene Thompson and Helen Fugere.
Visitation: Friday from 4 to 7 p.m., with a prayer service at 7 p.m., at the funeral home, and one hour prior to the service at the church
Service: 11 a.m. Saturday, at the First Church of Nazarene, Valley City, N.D.
Clergy: Rev. Fred Morrison
Burial: Nidaros Lutheran Church Cemetery, Vining, at 4 p.m. Saturday
Funeral Home: Lerud Schuldt Funeral Home in Valley City
Condolences may be sent online at www.lerudschuldt.com