Donald Aloysius Wetzel, Sr. passed March 7, 2023 at the age of 74 in Helena, MT. after a battle with an aggressive infection within his body. His sons and family were by his side throughout the struggle. We have been honored and shocked at the outpour of love and condolences. His influence expands even further than he ever knew. Multiple articles have been written on 406sports, and Montana news sites about his exploits this week and we encourage you to check them out. He was born to Walter “Blackie” Wetzel, Sr. and Doris Barlow Wetzel on August 1st, 1948 in Cut Bank and was raised at Seville Flats on the east side of the Blackfeet Nation. Don’s family and friendships run deep where he and his brothers and sisters ran around, played basketball, baseball, and everything else while living out at their ranch. His friends were tight and his magnetic personality brought many around him. Willie Degroot took him under his wing as an influential coach and mentor that assisted his direction to the University of Montana where he played for the Grizzlies. At the U of M, he played four years and graduated with his degree in education. He married Linda Holden in 1972 and moved to Browning, MT. and continued to build their family. Throughout his professional career, Don coached basketball, cross country and everything in between while teaching and running multiple programs. He coached in Browning and won six cross country and one basketball title by his 32nd birthday. He also coached basketball at Haskell Indian University, and Helena High where as a sports disciplinarian he worked with all people to live up to their full potential with high expectations that some didn’t like, but the results and wins were undeniable. As an administrator he worked in Corvallis MT. and received the School Administrator of the Year award from the MT Librarian Association along with Mike Mansfield, his father’s good friend. Don guided his boys throughout every part of life as they began to succeed in their own endeavors. He went on to work for Governor Stan Stephens as the Coordinator of Indian Affairs in 1989-1990 and became a Superintendent in Harlem, MT. Don eventually retired at 46 due to health issues from previous athletic injuries. In 2007, with his son Donnie Jr., he kicked off the Montana Indian Athletic Hall of Fame to bring honor and respect to the tribal athletes, teams and coaches. It blossomed into what it is today. He moved on to work on his next mission to bring acknowledgement to his father and former Blackfeet and National Congress of Native Americans Chairman to honorably return the Blackfeet logo he brought to the Washington NFL team years before. He loved his sons beyond belief and carried on that love to his grandchildren. A man of unbridled energy, he never slowed down bringing a curiosity to the all new technology, coaching styles and the ever changing state of America. He hoped and prayed for people to come together and unite. To always take care of the young people and lift each other up. His lineage is strong and holds the passion and fire to blaze their own trail on his shoulders. He built them that way. To Ikkaakimaat and never give up. He never did and he miraculously fought this infection for two days longer than the doctors expected and was able to see all his boys together, laughing, smiling and surrounding him with love and appreciation. Don is preceded in death by his parents, his siblings Marlene, Helen, Mike, nieces and nephews Susan, Scott and Tim. Survived by his siblings, Lance, William (Petesy), Walter Jr., Shar. His sons, Shawn, Donnie Jr. (Kesley), Ryan (Brooke), Robert (Meagan), and Christian (Brooke). His numerous nieces and nephews and his former wife Linda. He was also a father to Duane Flamand, Paul and Quinn Horst with many others he influenced along the way. His Wetzel Grandchildren: Keegan, Sheldon, Kiahna, Everson, Nevaeh, Xavier, Maia, Lauryn, Lavana, Landen, and Vivian. We apologize if we miss anyone but understand be cared for many. Services will be held in Browning Montana at the Old High School Gym March 18th at 1pm to 3pm, with a reception to follow. Condolences can be sent to the Montana Indian Athletic Hall of Fame PO Box 1653, East Helena, MT 59635.