Dave Luechtefeld grew up on a dairy farm outside Okawville, Illinois, then used his 6 ft 7 in frame to earn a full sports scholarship to St. Louis University. He returned to Okawville to begin a very successful teaching and coaching career, especially in basketball, where his teams made multiple trips to the state finals. Dave taught for 33 years and coached the basketball team for 37 years. He also was the school's baseball coach and athletic director. He retired from teaching in 1993 while retaining his coaching job for several more years, and went on to have a successful career as an Illinois State Senator.