Page 1

September 2013



Who are fired up for this season



SEPTEMBER 2013 | VOLUME 8 ISSUE 2 Bison Illustrated is a free publication distributed monthly (9 times a year). Our mission is to help promote North Dakota State University Athletics, provide a quality and fun reading experience and aims to improve the way of life in our community. The publication is mailed to homes across the US and has stand distribution throughout North Dakota and Minnesota. PUBLISHER

Spotlight Media Inc.


Mike Dragosavich


Roaming the Sidelines Go inside the minds of the assistant football coaches for insight you won’t get anywhere else.


Andy Neidt Joe Kerlin


Andy Neidt, George Stack, Sydney Schermerhorn


Josh Swanson, Steve Walker, Joe Kerlin, Sam Herder

Copy Editors



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Amanda Ahrenholz, Andrew Jason, Candice Grimm, Joe Kerlin, Josie Eyers Brent Tehven Brent Tehven, Tracy Nicholson, Ben Stechmann

The Transformation

The Coaching Keeper

Circulation Manager

Seth Holden

Examine the transition from player to coach with former NDSU players Freddy Coleman and Josh Vaughan.

Former goalkeeper, Karli Kopietz, returns to the Bison program after a memorable playing career.

Website/Social Media

Jake Schaffer, Erica Kale


the Atomic Weight

more 50 64 70 6

The Bald Eagle Homecoming Pop Quiz

One Man, One Journey

Alison Smith, NDSU Athletics


Erika Olson


Jeff Schwartz, Ryan Perreault, Wes Offerman, NDSU Athletic Media Relations and Colle en Heimstead


54 We go back to class to reveal the new head men’s golf coach, Steve Kennedy, and learn a bit of physics.


Codey Bernier, Chris Larson

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A look at the riveting story of former NDSU administrator, Dr. James Sugihara.

74 76 78

B i s o n I l l u s t r a t e d • SE P T E M BE R 2 013

Walker’s Word Herd’s Hunches Swany Says

Bison Illustrated is published monthly by Spotlight Media Incorporated. Print quantity exceeds 15,000 per issue. Printed in the U.S.A. Bison Illustrated does not necessarily endorse or agree with content of articles or advertising presented. Bison Illustrated assumes no responsibility for unsolicited manuscripts or photographs. Bison Illustrated is NOT an official publication of North Dakota State University. Send change of address information and other correspondence to: Spotlight Media Inc. 502 1st Ave N. First Floor Fargo ND, 58102 or


It’s official, Bison football is here! I hope you’re all as excited as me. I hope to see you at the games and remember, “the march is on!”

Joe Kerlin

Editor, Bison Illustrated C O N TA C T M E



This one is for the skipper. Teacher, motivator, guardian and babysitter — being a coach can be hard work. The countless hours of work and stress a coach deals with every day is something I don’t envy. Since its inception, amateur sports have been used as a great medium to learn valuable life lessons. Most of us were lucky enough to be young athletes at one point in our lives and to have felt the intense pressure brought upon us by difficult competition. Back then, it may have only been a game, but what we failed to realized is the preparation we were receiving was for the game we call life. I have always loved baseball. Call me old fashioned, but to this day I will admit it’s my favorite sport. I played little league for my hometown and had the opportunity to build great relationships along the way. One of these relationships that I have held onto is with my coach, Brian. Brian was a younger guy who just finished his collegeplaying career and had come back to coach the summer team. Brian learned quickly that I wasn’t useful in the infield, so he thought it was best to keep me in the outfield. I played outfield for most of the summer and during practice I would occasionally sneak into the infield to take some grounders. Obviously, Brian discovered I had an itch to play a game in the infield, but the only thing holding me back was my raw mechanics and lack of any kind of footwork or skill. Unbroken, I worked on my skills occasionally during practice until one game my window of opportunity opened up. Before the game, our starting pitcher had hurt his arm. Brian decided to put our everyday shortstop on the mound, leaving a hole in the infield. Without hesitation, he put me in at shortstop. 8

B i s o n I l l u s t r a t e d • SE P T E M BE R 2 013

Boy, was I terrible. I’d make a play and then make an error on the next one. This trend continued, and for those doing the math, my fielding percentage was around .500. Those who know anything about baseball know that making the play 50 percent of the time is a god-awful fielding percentage. After every inning, I would wait for Brian to pull me from the game, but he never did. Instead, he would come over and give me pointers to keep my attitude as positive as possible. I wouldn’t call Brian a miracle worker by any means, but for that day, he made me believe. There were two outs in the last inning and we were up by a run with the game winning runs on second and third. The batter had kept me on my toes at shortstop all day, so I was ready for anything. He must have known what he was going to do before stepping foot in the box because on the first pitch, he came out swinging. He made solid contact with the pitch and sent an absolute rocket my way. I lunged to the right, leaving my feet to stick out my glove, and miraculously, I caught the ball to end the game. I remember being so proud of what I had done and it ended up being the highlight of my season. Funny how such a small thing can transform into an important lesson about believing in yourself and never giving up. I have Brian to thank for that. Without his gull and confidence in me, I would have never been in that situation to make a play like that. I may not envy coaches, but there’s no other occupation on the planet that I respect more.

Go Bison,

Joe Kerlin


It’s Finally Time

We’re looking for writing, photography and editorial interns. Email andrew@ with resume and examples of work.












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B i s o n I l l u s t r a t e d • SE P T E M BE R 2 013


You know the players. You know the head coach.

But what about the men behind the scenes working their tails off to secure a Bison victory on Saturdays? We sat down with all ten of the Bison assistant coaches to get the real behind the scenes story of what's going on inside the Bison football program. SPOILER ALERT: It's going extremely well! From recruiting to watching an endless amount of game film and everything in between, we roamed the sidelines with your Bison assistant football coaches. By Joe Kerlin . Photos by Alison Smith



Brent Vigen Offensive Coordinator / Quarterbacks

VIGEN’S Credentials Year at NDSU: 16th Alma Mater: North Dakota State University Experience: NDSU (1998 - present)


B i s o n I l l u s t r a t e d • SE P T E M BE R 2 013

There are many ways to get through to your players. What would you say is your coaching philosophy? “You know, I think if a coach isn’t trying to bring the best out of his kids on the field or off the field then they are misguided. I think it’s about having our kids prepared for when they leave here and well suited for life after football. Now specifically, related to football I think our philosophy is to play a team brand of football, and I think our way of getting that done is to be excellent on defense and special teams and offensively be able to make all that work. We’re not a separate entity on offense and the defense isn’t a separate entity and we all work together.”

Several coaches have joined the staff in the past few years. How is the continuity within the coaching staff?

one team, opposed to just the offense and defensive positions.”

In what way is your job rewarding for you at NDSU? “I think having played here and gone to school here, you have a certain amount of pride and having the opportunity to stay here and coach. It has enhanced that feeling you have towards the University and ultimately helped to be a part of the success we have achieved over the past few years. It has given me a tremendous amount of pride knowing that all the former players that I played with and the ones that have come after me. I know what they’re feeling. … I know what they are seeing in our program. ‘Once a Bison, always a Bison’ is true, and the success

“I think it’s about having our kids prepared for when they leave here and well suited for life after football.”

we have achieved not only belongs to the team, but the teams back through time. It’s unique being a part of an elite program. It’s unique to me because this is the only place I have been.”

“Coach Bohl carefully selects guys that I think everyone will respect each other and work towards one common goal while being able to get along in a work environment day-to-day. I think that’s really important because we don’t always have to agree on everything, but I think ultimately everyone has to respect each other and be able to


function on a day-to-day basis. I think if you have that as a coaching staff, you can start moving in one direction and understanding that we’re all a part of

*Photo Courtesy of NDSU Athletics

North Dakota and Western Minnesota



Kenni Burns Wide Receivers/Recruiting Coordinator

Burns’ Credentials Year at NDSU: 4th Alma Mater: Indiana University Experience: Millersville (Pa.) University (2007),

Southern Illinois (2008-2009), NDSU (2010-present)


B i s o n I l l u s t r a t e d • SE P T E M BE R 2 013

What is the prototypical attributes you are looking for in a recruit?

*Photo Courtesy of IU Athletics

“Biggest thing we are looking for is a guy with tremendous athletic ability — someone that has a ton of up-side. Typically, what we are dealing with in recruiting is a kid that is not a finished product. Usually a guy who is a finished product is probably going to a Big 10 school. Typically we are dealing with a guy who is a little bit too short, doesn’t have enough speed, but has a ton of upside that could potentially overcome those obstacles. We’re also looking for a kid that loves football, that loves to play football, and loves to be a part of something great which we believe we have here. A kid that also believes in our philosophy of winning championships, working hard, having what it takes to win championships, who really just fits our mold and what we are trying to from a football philosophy standpoint. Most of all, someone that wants to be here, that wants to be a part of a great product and a great thing.”

How do you build relationships with your position players? “There’s a little give and take there, but if you ask any one of those guys that has played for me, he is going to say I’m going to push ya, grind on ya, but at the end of the day, I care about you and I’m going to maximize your potential. You really maximize all you can be and at the end of the day, you’re happy what you left here as a player at NDSU… I think it’s a gradual progression. In the beginning when a kid comes in to NDSU he has to understand

part of and the seriousness that this is big time Division 1 football and everything you do is going to be portrayed in some way. If it’s jumping off-sides, it can cost us a game or a dropped pass. He needs to understand every little thing he does. So right away there might be some distance and an expectation of them growing as a person and a football player.”

“You really maximize all you can be and at the end of the day, you’re happy what you left here as a player at NDSU.”

Are you ever apprehensive from pushing your players too much in fear that they might not respond? “Warren Holloway had a terrific career. Warren was a hard one to get a read on when he first got here. We did not see eye-to-eye at all. But I tell you this much. It was father’s day this past year and I got a text from Warren saying, ‘Thanks for being my father away from home’ and that means a lot to me as a coach. You know what you’re doing is right and what you’re doing is the right way. A guy like Ryan Smith, who I grinded also ... he’s a guy who would tell you Coach Burns is one of my best friends.”

RECRUITING AREA Twin Cities and inner-city Chicago

the seriousness of what he just became a



Scott Fuchs Offensive Line

FUCHS’ Credentials Year at NDSU: 5th Alma Mater: North Dakota State University Experience: Valley City State (1997-98),

Wisconsin-Eau Claire (1999), MinnesotaCrookston (2000-03), Nebraska-Omaha (200306), Grand Valley State (2007), Southern Illinois (2008), NDSU (2009-present)


B i s o n I l l u s t r a t e d • SE P T E M BE R 2 013

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What are you looking for out of your offensive linemen? “I like my guys to understand that this position needs to be very physical.

you first come in and there’s levels of it. The better you do the more you respond to the responsibilities. By the virtue of getting older you get more respect, and it’s a growing process and I think it will always be a growing process.”

You cannot take away from your guy’s ability to be physical because your guy’s

*Photo Courtesy of NDSU Athletics

job is to hit people. They’re not running and catching the ball and stuff like that so you need to be physical. I like guys that can add a layer of intelligence. They need to be smart, understand what we are doing and how we are doing it when you’re talking technique. You can take a real physical kid and if he can learn what you want him to do and he goes where you want him to go, I think you can get the well-rounded player. …I want them to be very physical and very talented and when you have those two things, I think you have a shot.”

NDSU use to call their linemen “The Rams.” Are you working to continue that identity? “When they had the identity of the rams…the rams means you’re big and athletic. You’re big and you hit each other, and they’re agile, they’re on top of the mountain and they knock the crap out of each other. I think they buy into that identity and it’s been that way for so long. That identity on the offensive line has been different and has been more special than any other place I have been. I have been to a lot of places and I think they really take a lot of pride in that. … There’s a certain amount of respect that people have for you when


B i s o n I l l u s t r a t e d • SE P T E M BE R 2 013

“That identity on the offensive line has been different and has been more special than any other place I have been.”

Have you been able to get your kids involved with the program a lot? “I want to say yes, but I guess it depends on how you define ‘a lot.’ They are around and those guys know who Hank and Jack are, especially my guys. Even guys like Marcus. The boys come in after a win, come in the locker room and see the players. It’s special, not a lot of kids get to do that kind of stuff. The players know we have families and there has not been a kid I wouldn’t trust around my boys to babysit them.”

RECRUITING AREA Twins Cities and Southern Minnesota


Conor RILEY Tight Ends/ Running Backs

RILEY’S Credentials Year at NDSU: 1st Alma Mater: University of Nebraska Omaha Experience: University of Nebraska-Omaha

(2003-2005) and (2007-2010), Concordia UniversitySt. Paul (2006), Sacramento State (2011-2012), NDSU (2013) 22

B i s o n I l l u s t r a t e d • SE P T E M BE R 2 013


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What was the most appealing thing to you about coming to NDSU?

Has the relationships within the coaching staff ultimately helped in the program’s success?

“The reason I did come here was,

“There’s no question in my mind.

number one, obviously, is this job is

Being at different programs there’s an

extremely appealing because of the

enormous correlation in not only the

success that this program and this

continuity of the staff, but you also look

institution has had. Not only in the

at the how close the staff is together.

previous two season, but back when I

We go golfing together; I think that is

was a football player at the University

extremely important I think that there

of Nebraska-Omaha. … Secondly,

is a correlation in that and the success

the most attractive thing to me was

that has happened here, especially in

the people around here. … When we

the past couple of years.”

dropped football at Nebraska-Omaha, Coach Bohl recruited and signed Bryan Shepard and I got to meet with both of

“Every person I meet involved with this football program reassures me of the decision I have made.”

*Photo Courtesy of NDSU Athletics *Photo Courtesy of Tim Fitzgerald/Omaha Athletics

them at the same time a couple years back and have just been extremely, extremely impressed with those people. With every person I meet involved with this football program reassures me of the decision I have made, from Gene Taylor on down. Those are the two primary reasons. A personal reason would be that I’m a Midwest guy and coming back was pretty important to me.”

“I hope that there is a number of

You have only been here over the summer. What are your thoughts on your new co-workers?

different things I can help value-wise.

“The coaching staff here is phenomenal.

bring the knowledge of the experience

Not only in the way of being extremely

I have had in recent years in different

impressed with them as coaches, but

areas, whether it be in recruiting,

also how helpful they have made it for

offensive schematics that can bring

me in the transition. How warm they

value to the team. Basically, don’t screw

are and how friendly they are. Those

things up is the main reason.” (laughs)

things are very important because you spend so much time with those guys in the office.”


What do you hope to bring to the Bison football program?

B i s o n I l l u s t r a t e d • SE P T E M BE R 2 013

I know coach Bohl felt that way when he hired me. It’s going to come down to working my rear end off and that’s a pretty vague answer, but anything that I can do is working my rear end off and

RECRUITING AREA Eastern Wisconsin and Northern Illinois

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Gordi Haug Offensive Assistant

Haug’S Credentials Year at NDSU: 2nd Alma Mater: Bemidji State University Experience: Bemidji State University (Minn.)

(2007-2011), NDSU (2012-present)



The backfield is one of the deepest parts of this team. What kind of guys are they? “John Crockett is probably more of a fireball, more of a fire cracker, and Sam is a laid back guy and doesn’t get too hyped until he’s on that football field. He’s a little bit more of a veteran at staying even keeled until getting onto the football field. John is more of a firecracker and is going to bring more energy on the practice field. ... They compete and they know they are going to compete for carries during the games, and it depends on practice so both of them practice very hard. And Derrick Lang is right there too practicing hard. Derrick is more of the Dad of the group. All three of them get along great with each other and hang out with each other, so it’s a good group.”

You coached the D-line at Bemidji State. How does that work when you now coach the offensive side of the ball? “It works because I think as a coach you have to know a lot about both sides of the ball and to have some insight about what’s going on the defensive side of the ball. What are the linebackers looking at, what kind of steps are they looking at, maybe our eyes and our posture? Are they pointing things out as linebackers that can help out? But also just to be able to explain defenses to those guys because everything that we do is going to happen to how the defense is going to react to what’s happening. In our meeting rooms, a lot of our talks aren’t about the offense, they’re defensives talks. What’s the defense going to be doing? So they’re going to know exactly if the full back is going to the linebacker.

Where is the leadership capability at with your dynamic duo in the back field?

Is he going to go underneath the full

“Every day it’s all about leadership.

perspective and being able to talk that

Everything we do off the field too. The main thing we talk about is all the little things. If you do all the little

back or over the top? Before they even step onto the football field, they are going to know everything about what the linebackers are going to do to a certain blocker. To be able to have that way is really helpful for the guys on the football field to react fast and play fast.”

things right off the field then big things are going to happen on the field. That being said, classroom stuff, in public the perceptions you are showing off the field, when people look at you and what are you saying. We talk a lot about that and obviously it’s been good. We have seen some changes out of those guys and their stance and becoming role models and doing the right things”


B i s o n I l l u s t r a t e d • SE P T E M BE R 2 013

*Photo Courtesy of BSU Photo Services

“Every day it’s all about leadership. Everything we do off the field too. The main thing we talk about is all the little things. If you do all the little things right off the field then big things are going to happen on the field.”

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Chris Klieman Defensive Coordinator / Defensive Backs

Klieman’S Credentials Year at NDSU: 3rd Alma Mater: University of Northern Iowa Experience: University of Northern Iowa (1991-

1993) and (2006-2010), Western Illinois (1994-1996), Kansas (1997), Missouri State (1999), Loras College (2001-2004), NDSU (2011-present) 30

B i s o n I l l u s t r a t e d • SE P T E M BE R 2 013

What is the best part about being the defensive coordinator of the best defense in the nation?

Explain the relationship your kids have with the football program.

“We have tremendous players and

Shanley, has been on the sidelines for a

great kids. I really enjoy coaching them

lot of games as a ball boy for us. Coach

and I really enjoy being around them.

Bohl has done a great job of including

The fun part of the job for me is the

families into the Bison family. I think I

interaction I have with them on a daily

have been really fortunate and blessed

basis, whether it’s in the meeting room,

to get my kids around these players and

whether it’s in practice or whether it’s

this program. What better role models

off the field. Those things and in general,

for my kids to look up to than the

I really enjoy being around our players.

players we have here?”

“They have been a great part of Bison football and Bison athletics. My oldest son, who is going to be a sophomore at

Our players are first-class. Our players are great to the community, great with my kids and it’s a joy for me to come to work every day because I get to interact with these guys.”

What’s your coaching philosophy? “You develop your own style and

What makes the Bison defense the best in the country? “Our kids buy into what we are trying to portray to them. Whether it’s from the head coach, Craig Bohl, to myself

philosophy. You have a lot of influences and I think I have had a lot of great influences at the number of schools I have been at. … I have just been blessed

“Our players are great to the community, great with my kids and it’s a joy for me to come to work every day because I get to interact with these guys.”

to work with so many great coaches and I have developed into my own philosophy.”

and Vigs as coordinator to the other assistants, they buy into what we are trying to teach them. What example we are trying to make. Whatever we are doing x’s and o’s wise, whatever we are doing philosophy wise, whatever we’re doing motivation wise. They really buy into it. You can have great players, but if the great players don’t believe what


you are doing and trust each other to know what’s in the best interest of the program then you don’t have the

Kansas City

success we are having. …There’s no one on the other side of the fence. They’re all

*Photo Courtesy of UNI Athletics

in here.”



NICK Goeser Defensive Tackles

Goeser’S Credentials Year at NDSU: 4th Alma Mater: University of Wisconsin-Eau Clair Experience: Marietta College (Ohio) (2003-2004),

Augustana College (Ill.) (2005-2006), MinnesotaDuluth (2007-2009), NDSU (2010-present)


B i s o n I l l u s t r a t e d • SE P T E M BE R 2 013

“Once a Bison... Always a Bison”

Steve Walker Fargo


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You have been here for a few years now. What is your favorite part about this University?

How comfortable are you with the product you are putting in the trenches each game?

“The thing I love about North Dakota

“We are returning really good players

State is the commitment, not only at

that have had a ton of experience up

the University level, but the community

front, but the one question mark we have

supporting the football program. …

is that we have had a couple guys with

Nowhere I have been compares to here.

some serious knee injuries. … Where

It makes it really fun. You’re here to win

are those guys going to be at and what

football games, you’re judged on winning

are the guys behind them going to do?

football games and to me that’s what it’s

The thing I feel really good about is

all about. The community has been great,

that we have some depth there. This is

the school has been great, the coaching

the deepest we have ever been at this

staff has been great and certainly the

position since I have been here.”

players have been great. I have had the opportunity to coach some really good football players. Places I have been at in the past have been at a lower level and have been different than FCS football. So the opportunity to coach really dynamic

“The thing I love about North Dakota State is the commitment, not only at the University level, but the community supporting the football program…”

and good football players has been really fun to coach at a really high level”

You get to coach some pretty good players. What is the best thing about being their coach? they are tough kids and work really hard

You have a son due in the fall. How is the addition to the family going to change the way you balance your football and family life?

not only on the football field, but work

“I have a very understanding wife; she

really hard in the classroom. I enjoy kids

was an athlete herself so she knows how

like that, that are going to be extremely

involved I am and how she was when she

dedicated in the weight room and out on

was doing it. So she knows what it’s all

the practice field and then certainly in

about and I appreciate that. It’s always

the classroom. … I think I can relate with

tough to juggle your personal life and

most of them. … They grow up in a place

coaching ball. So every opportunity I

where they have to work hard and that’s

have, I try to spend time with her.”

“What I enjoy about it is that they’re kids like me, they’re Midwestern kids,

a way I believe I can relate to these kids. They’re maybe not the most talented kids, but they are willing to work at it.”


*Photo Courtesy of UW-Eau Claire Athletics

B i s o n I l l u s t r a t e d • SE P T E M BE R 2 013

RECRUITING AREA Western Wisconsin


AJ Cooper Defensive Ends

COOPER’s Credentials Year at NDSU: 8th Alma Mater: North Dakota State University

Experience: NDSU (2006-present) 37


How did you end up in Fargo?

the fans were rabid. I went to a Bison-

You were in training camp with the Green Bay Packers. What do you tell your players aspiring to play in the NFL?

Sioux women’s basketball game with

“The next level, the NFL, people think

5,000 people there and I figured if they

they know, but they have no idea. .. .I try

get that crazy about basketball, they must

to talk to our guys here that are getting

really love football!”

ready for the next level to understand that

“I came to NDSU in 2004, our first year as a Division 1 school. … I knew nothing about NDSU until I came on my visit and

*Photo Courtesy of NDSU Athletics

it’s not just physical toughness, but mental toughness. Understanding that it’s a business, getting cut, obviously becoming coachable and doing the little things that will help them at that level because that’s what will show up. They might be great players here, but there are great players

What’s the level of play like in the FCS?

across the country, you’re just another name sometimes. The biggest thing they can do is just play well. That’s the difference between any other evaluation

“I played in the Great West Conference

levels in football; NFL scouts rely a lot

and it was a good conference. I believe

on game film. … What’s going to separate

that the level of play in the Missouri

you? Well, you better be doing things right

Valley Conference is the best in the

on the field, every little thing. You better

country week in and week out. There

have the ability to be coached, to work

are no ‘gimme’ games, there are no easy

hard, to be passionate about football, and

teams, no games you can take off; any

if there’s a knock on any of those things,

team can beat you in this conference. ...

well, they will just go to the SEC and get a

So you have to be ready for any week. It’s

guy who is a back-up.”

not just team, but at least from a defensive perspective, every week whether it’s

we feel that we have been battle tested.

You just had a recent addition to your family. What has the transition been like?

We have seen multiple schemes, we have

“For me, as a young coach, I have had

seen extremely talented players whether

some great guys in the office to bounce

its tight-ends, running backs, receivers,

ideas off of and talk to about how do you

O-lines or quarterbacks, we have seen the

do this, how do you handle this with your

best in the country at every spot. We feel,

family, because there is no perfect way...

at least on defense, that has really helped

It’s nice having some of the older guys

us prepare and get ready.”

who have had 20 years of coaching and

challenging scheme, or extremely talented players on other teams, team’s offenses; it’s very unique. It’s great because when we have been able to get to the playoffs,

seeing how they do things.”


B i s o n I l l u s t r a t e d • SE P T E M BE R 2 013

“There are no ‘gimme’ games, there are no easy teams, no games you can take off; any team can beat you in this conference.”

RECRUITING AREA Arizona and Florida


Steve Stanard Linebackers

Stanard’s Credentials Year at NDSU: 2nd Alma Mater: University of Nebraska Experience: University of Nebraska (1988-

1990), Nebraska Wesleyan (1991-1995), South Dakota (1996), New Mexico State University (1997-2002), Colorado State University (20032007), Ohio University (2008), Tulane University (2009-2011), NDSU (2012-present)


B i s o n I l l u s t r a t e d • SE P T E M BE R 2 013

You have an amazing resume. Do you still feel like you have a lot to learn about coaching?

earlier, the commitment to doing things

“You hope. What’s Coach Bohl’s line:

has done a good job here of developing

You’re either green and growing, or ripe and rotting. Point being I think you’re constantly evolving as a coach and you can keep improving. It’s been a great experience coming up here. NDSU really reminds me of Nebraska. There’s a real commitment to winning here. And more importantly than a commitment to winning, but to doing it right. Meaning whatever level NDSU has chosen to compete on whether it’s division two or FCS, they have chosen to do it at a championship level. It’s been a great opportunity to recharge my battery.”

at a high-level. We had a secondary coach from USC come in here and he said, ‘Shoot, your offices are nicer than ours.’ You never know what you have. Every place is the Taj Mahal and that’s not the case. Coach Bohl the facilities along with Gene Taylor, and they’re always moving forward. And the facilities here for football are as good or if not better than you know the Ohio’s, the New Mexico State’s or the mid-majors.

It sure helps when you have amazing players to coach. “Without a doubt. And then I got to meet with a couple of the linebackers, you might look at me like I’m crazy, but the three guys that start for us here, are the three best I

“There’s a real commitment to winning here. And more importantly than a commitment to winning, but to doing it right.”

have coached anywhere, including Colorado State, New Mexico State, Tulane, Ohio, as a group. I have had some good guys that went to play pro football but that was just one, I’m talking the three together are as good as I have coached.”

You and Coach Bohl go way back. How did your relationship start?

What is your relationship like with the players? “They’re awesome. That’s all Max (his son)

“He was a G.A. at Nebraska while I was

talks about. … They are so gracious. Brock,

being recruited at Nebraska. He went to

Marcus, Carlton, John Crockett, came up

Lincoln East, I went to Lincoln South East,

the other day for Max’s birthday. I have

we went to rival schools. He’s older than I

never coached anywhere where guys do

am, about six or seven years older… so we

that... I remember one time after a game,

have known each other for a long time, then

Grant Olson, it was after the 29 tackle game

he called about me coming up here. I wasn’t

against Wofford, the guy was barely walking

sure what direction I wanted to go, and he

and he said, ‘hey Max, hey Madison,’ and

just said ‘come up here, take your family

gave them a hug. It’s a special group and

and take a look at it.’ Soon as I pulled into

there’s a reason we have had the success

the parking lot, I said ‘coach, this is big time.’

these last three years. It’s because of the

… I got to meet Gene Taylor and the rest of

quality of men.”

the coaching staff and everybody around here. You would get a sense of what I said

RECRUITING AREA South Dakota and Nebraska



John Richardson Defensive Assistant

Richardson’s Credentials Year at NDSU: 5th Alma Mater: North Dakota State University Experience: NDSU (2009-present)


B i s o n I l l u s t r a t e d • SE P T E M BE R 2 013

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What are some of the difference here that you have noticed since being a player?

so I was still in the coaching world. Marcus Williams

“The expectation to win has always been here. Not

remember you on my recruiting visit,’ but other than that

necessarily pressure to win because it’s expected. So that

the majority of the guys still look at me as coach. Those

hasn’t changed at all. Our fans’ support has remained

two do as well. Primarily, what I try to do is give them my

the same here as well. The one thing that I have seen is

insight from me being a former player. X’s and O’s, Coach

primarily just the national exposure, which was a little bit

Klieman does a great job at that and I’m still learning

different in the past. We haven’t had as much exposure

from him every day, but other than that the technique

as we did. I would say that is the only difference as far

and what to look for and stuff like that coming from the

as sell-outs and stuff. All of that stuff has been here my

corner position, I try to share my knowledge and my

entire time. I would like to say the national exposure has

experience with them.”

been the most different.”

*Photo Courtesy of NDSU Athletics

is the only one because I actually hosted him on his recruiting visit. He and Brendin Pierre are the only two that kind of see me as, ‘yeah, you’re our coach but I still

Most of the players in the secondary have been around and have played big roles in the past. How do they remain hungry for another championship? “A little insight people may not know is that the secondary considers themselves a wolf pack. … A wolf pack basically consists of a wolf who can hunt alone like in man-to-man coverage, but as a pack together, too. Each person is a wolf and the whole group together is a pack. Basically, it means we carry that wolf mentality. When we have to hunt, we huntin’. There’s meat out there that we have to take, meaning the ball or our opponent. … Having that mentality, that edge as a predator, we are one of the top predators in the nation, so that’s why we have that mentality of being the best at everything we do and staying hungry. If you’re in a pack and you have eight to 10 wolves in a pack, one carcass isn’t going to do


Does being a young coach make it harder to get through to your players?

it in an entire day. … Every single play we have to go out

“The majority of the guys, they weren’t here when I

you’re a wolf, you’re not satisfied with the one big carcass

was playing, well, none of them were here when I was

you just ate. Constantly having that mentality and

playing, so I was more of a student assistant and G.A.

generally wolves is something they can relate to.”

B i s o n I l l u s t r a t e d • SE P T E M BE R 2 013

and get something to eat. … It makes sure we don’t stay stagnate because we have a lot of returning starters, so it’s easy to get complacent from back-to-back titles, but if

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hen investing an entire lifetime of hard work to the game you love, removing yourself from the sport isn’t an option. Freddy Coleman's (left) and Josh Vaughan's (right) playing career may have come to an end, but not without leaving them with the opportunity to give back to the game they adore.

By Joe Kerlin Photos By J. Alan Paul Photography




B i s o n I l l u s t r a t e d • SE P T E M BE R 2 013


Two former NDSU players turned coaches. 47


The final whistle blew as a distraught Bison men’s basketball team slowly walked off the court at the Sioux Falls Arena for the last time during the 2010-11 season that had ended prematurely. Oral Roberts had taken down the Bison 72-65 in the first round of the Summit League tournament and not only was the season over, but the final chapter of a promising career had been completed. Freddy Coleman came to NDSU as a highly touted recruit with enormous expectations. After patiently waiting for his time to shine behind Bison stars like Ben Woodside and Brett Winkelman, Coleman was poised to take the reigns as the go-to scorer offensively. After an unfortunate achilles tendon tear a week prior to the 2009-10 campaign, Coleman was forced to miss his entire junior season. In hindsight, this could have been the best thing for Coleman, who found himself at a crossroads in his college career. “Until my junior year, I had no idea what the hell I was going to do,” Coleman said. “I was out my whole junior year and that kind of made me take a couple steps back to see what a developing basketball program looks like rather than just the basketball aspect of playing.”

Around the same time a banged up

Coleman was on the bench, his teammate and longtime friend Josh Vaughan was lighting it up on the court for the Bison. Vaughan led the Bison in minutes his senior year playing over 35 a night and was just as important on the defensive end of the court as he was on the offensive side, scoring 13 points a game. At the end of the season, Vaughan had to face a similar crossroads his friend and now former teammate Coleman was facing. “In the summer of 2010, I was trying to go overseas, but I never got a contract,” Vaughan said. “I always knew I wanted to go into coaching so my friend from high school, who was actually an all-American at Wofford, said the director of basketball operations is leaving, so he talked to his head coach.”


B i s o n I l l u s t r a t e d • SE P T E M BE R 2 013

Coleman (left) and Vaughan (right) were prolific scorers for the Bison during their playing tenure at NDSU.

Vaughan was awarded the position of director of basketball operations at Wofford College in Spartanburg, S.C., 22 hours away from his family. He was a part of the coaching staff that led the Terriers to a NCAA tournament appearance in 2011. It was the second time Vaughan had made a trip to the NCAA tournament with the last time coming as a role player on the 2009 Bison team that lost to Kansas in the opening round. “It was indescribable, really,” Vaughan said. “You don’t really understand it when you are in it; it’s just such a whirlwind.” Wofford was eliminated in the opening round, 74-66, to Brigham Young University on an outstanding 34-point performance from Jimmer Fredette. The season in Spartanburg had ended and Vaughan had decided it was time to come back to his home in the Midwest.

In the summer of 2011, Vaughan took the assistant coach job at Minnesota State University Moorhead. As fate would have it, Vaughan got the opportunity to rekindle his relationship with his former teammate who had recently graduated. That same summer, Coleman had taken an assistant coaching job at Concordia under head coach Rich Glas. “When I learned I was going to stay in the area after graduation, I was looking for apartments,” Coleman said. "We were like, 'we should live together.' It was great for us because we played together and we’re brothers then and you know it just worked out.” Reuniting with his former teammate helped both Coleman and Vaughan as they were now making their way through the coaching ranks. Feeding off each other’s experiences and growing as basketball

coaches started to make the two former Bison stars closer than ever. “It’s kind of funny because when he was at Concordia, we were recruiting the same guys and teams so we were already always on the road together and recruiting together. We were always doing the same things together so we have a really good relationship,” Vaughan said. “He’s someone you can trust no matter what.”

The continuity of the former Bison standouts didn’t go unnoticed. Earlier this summer, head coach Saul Phillips officially announced that Coleman would be returning to NDSU to join the Bison coaching staff. Phillips had hired one piece of the puzzle and then in July, he announced that Vaughan will join Coleman at NDSU as the director of men’s basketball operations. “I felt like this was a good opportunity especially with how good the team is this


Coleman {06-11}

• Games played: 86 • Career point total: 396 • Career rebound total: 238

year with the good roster with everyone returning from last year,” Vaughan said. “Coming back to my alma mater is always a good thing and getting that chance to get back to where it all started.” Rising through the coaching ranks at a young age is truly a testament to the knowledge and skill of both Coleman and Vaughan. Both know the challenges ahead, but they know that the opportunity to grow as coaches can only benefit them down the road. Coleman and Vaughan hope to be an intricate part of the Bison success due to their familiarity with many of the leaders on the team that include Taylor Braun, Marshall Bjorklund and TrayVonn Wright. “They were freshman when I was a senior, so I have known them better than a lot of people,” Coleman said. “We would hang out at my place or out on our off days, when we got done with lifting or practice. We would always be together.”

The pressure to succeed has

been more apparent than ever for the Bison this season and Coleman and Vaughan are looking forward to taking the challenge head on. With future success within grasp, they have been the prototypical player making the jump into the coaching ranks. The climb will be difficult and in due time their shot will come. “I don’t want to put a timetable on it, but I do eventually want to be a head coach,” Vaughan said. “Once I feel comfortable with being a head coach I’ll go after it, but for now I can be an assistant, learn and hopefully somewhere down the road.”


Bison coaches have gone on to do bigger and better things, and for Coleman and Vaughan, their time will come. For now the former Bison stars will put their noses to the grindstone knowing all well their transformation from the court to the sidelines is already complete.


Vaughan {05-10} • Games played: 116 • Career point total: 649 • Career 3-point %: 38

CL_Cold Delivered_4-75x4-75_08381-7 JC.indd 1

7/30/13 9:03 AM


Coaching Keeper

Karli Kopietz has lived between the pipes for almost her whole life. Punching out saves and leading the Bison on the field was her specialty... until now. The once Division 1 Independent Defensive Player of the Year has returned to her alma mater in hopes of injecting life back into the Bison soccer program from the sidelines. By Joe Kerlin


B i s o n I l l u s t r a t e d • SE P T E M BE R 2 013

We got a chance to get an exclusive interview with Coach Kopietz and here is what transpired:

to motivate them because as a goalie that’s what you have to do on the field. So as a coach, I think that is my role on the coaching staff. Cook and Chris are the more reserved ones and kind of see the game and manage play where I am more to do with the goal keepers and managing the girls during the games and making sure we know what’s on the line."

BI: You were once a goalie and now you coach the goalies. Why is that position so unique than any other on the field?

BI: You were a heck of a goalkeeper during your career at the University of Minnesota. How did you end up coming to NDSU?

Karli Kopietz:

"Minnesota got a new coach and we just didn’t see eye to eye. She was taking the program in a different direction and my role had been changed and I still wanted that old role so I decided to go to a different place. ... NDSU was the closest place I could go and not have to sit out a year and still play D-1."

BI: What are some of the things that Coach Cook has done that are different from when you played for Coach Cuadrado?

KK: "The program is still pretty much the same, still very family oriented approach. ... Pete (Cuadrado) played very direct, wanted to hit people in the mouth and be very physical. Cook is more of a knock the ball around the park, possess the ball. ... The program runs itself well on the other side too. We have great girls and a good sports staff and all that."

BI: What do you think you can bring to the soccer program?

KK: "It’s a stressful position, but it’s also a fun stress. You gotta have the mentality to come up big in any given moment because sometimes you don’t see the ball or you only see it once. One shot and you only get one chance at it the entire game so you need to be mentally tough, but you also need to be a leader. You see the whole field so you do a lot of organizing and game management so you really want to make sure you know what’s going on and staying connected to the game at all times."

BI: What are some of your personal goals for this season?

KK: "I’m really just going to try to dive in and I want to make myself into the best coach I possibly can to make sure I’m helping in making the program successful. At the end of the day, we want to win. That’s the main goal as a coach, but I want to make sure our girls also feel that as well. Making them into good people by the time they leave this program and hopefully they were successful in the win-loss column as well. It’s just going to be diving in and really honing in on this coaching thing and hopefully we can start collecting hardware here because that would be a step in the right direction."

KK: "I think I can bring a lot of experience because not only have I played college soccer, but I have played here. I know the tradition and I know what the athletic program expects and I think I can tie that in with the girls that are coming in to the program and instill that Bison Pride in every one of our girls. I’m a very leadby-example person. I was a vocal player and now I’m a vocal coach. I really try and drive kids,

Photo by J. Alan Paul Photography

High School: Champlin Park (MN) Position: Goal Keeper Playing Career: University of Minnesota (2002-04); NDSU (2005-06)

Accolades: Minnesota’s Most Valuable Defensive Player (2002); Division 1 Independent Defensive Player of the Year (2005)


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dEagle NDSU’s Eagle has landed. Kevin Dunn’s career has been highlighted by his tremendous work given first on the volleyball court and now on the sidelines. Coined “The Bald Eagle” during his playing days at Lindenwood University, Coach Dunn is ready to show NDSU he can be the right-hand man for head coach Kari Thompson and the Bison volleyball players. With stops in both Alabama and West Virginia under his belt, Dunn is ready for the challenges of the Summit League. His newest objective: to get the Bison volleyball team soaring to new heights.

By Joe Kerlin Photography by J. Alan Paul


Kevin “Bald Eagle” Dunn gave us his insight on the future of the women’s volleyball program at NDSU and detailed his plans to take the team back to the Summit League Tournament. BI: When did it click for you that you wanted to be a college volleyball coach?

Kevin Dunn: "When I first got to college, I wanted to be a high school history teacher, but then I decided that wasn’t for me. I didn’t really know what I was going to do until I got the opportunity to coach the women’s team in college. I was an assistant coach on the girl’s side and then I was playing on the men’s side. I really liked working with those girls. I liked seeing them develop and progress past what they thought they could do. Those light bulb moments are really why I got into it. It’s a great job and you have to work hard, but it’s very fulfilling to see someone else work past what they expected and breaking down those barriers to get better.

BI: What were the deciding factors for you in making the decision to come to NDSU?


"The main reason I came here was because of Kari (Thompson). I really like the conversations I had volleyballwise with her. The things that are most important to me are important to her. Things like making sure the athletes are treated right and we’re putting them into positions where they can succeed so it’s their best interest we are after. Secondly, the community is great. From what I saw, the support is huge here. The pictures of 1,200 people in the (Bentson Bunker) Fieldhouse and being loud is rare in


B i s o n I l l u s t r a t e d • SE P T E M BE R 2 013

college volleyball and having a facility that is pretty much to ourselves is cool. Having those things and volleyball being important to NDSU, to the student and to the Fargo community is not something that is found all over the place."

BI: What has been your transition to moving to Fargo been like?

KD: "The transition has been great. Out of all the places I have been, it’s not about the place you’re in, it’s about the people that are there that make the place. ... I was pleasantly surprised by the size of Fargo. I have never been to North Dakota before my interview. I was not expecting a place this big to be honest (laughs). But it’s great. I’m extremely happy and I’m meeting some very interesting people. ... Even just going around town, all over the place there is Bison stuff. I have talked to some of the alumni about their experience here and just reaffirm everything I see. It’s pretty evident when you enter Fargo that this is a great University and there’s a lot of pride."

BI: What's one of the joys of working with Coach Kari Thompson?

KD: "The culture that Coach Thompson has created has been a really good one. She is very demanding because there are high expectations here. The expectations here are higher than any other place I have been. We’re expected to win. The culture that she has created is that we’re going to get better every day. We’re not going to take huge steps, some days will be baby steps, but she makes sure we’re going in the right direction."

BI: What are you going to be able to bring to the Bison volleyball program?


"I think the biggest thing I am going to be able to do is to continue what Kari has started and that’s the mindset — pushing to go forward. Winning the Summit League isn’t where we want to be. We want to be winning the Summit League, getting into the tournament, then from there we want to win tournament games, get to the Sweet Sixteen and eventually the Final Four. I think my mindset and how competitive I am and some of my experiences that I have had volleyball-wise can help us do that."

Who is Kevin Dunn? Coaching Title: Assistant Coach - Setter Training and Development Hometown: St. Louis, Mo. Alma Mater: Lindenwood

University (St. Charles, Mo.) Class of 2008

Major: Business Administration

Position: Setter

Former Jobs: 2012- Washington University (Head Coach) 2011- West Virginia University (Assistant) 2009-10- University of Alabama (Assistant) 2008- Southern Arkansas University (Graduate Assistant) 2007- Lindenwood University (Student Assistant)

We’ve made big plans.


Carrying the

Atomic Weight

By Joe Kerlin

Steve Kennedy Angular acceleration, coefficient of linear expansion, kinetic energy and inertia. Welcome to the scientific life of the new men’s golf coach,


Photo by J. Alan Paul Photography 56

B i s o n I l l u s t r a t e d • SE P T E M BE R 2 013

After years of success in the North Dakota high school golf scene, Coach

Kennedy is ready to bring his A-game to the college level. We caught up with the physics teacher to see what we should expect from the new men’s golf coach.

BI: What are some of the challenges you are facing jumping from the high school level to the collegiate level? Steve Kennedy: "There are two things that stick out. The recruiting. Having to go out and recruit players for our program. The second thing is the travel. It’s not an hour trip now or across the river into Moorhead. Our first tournament is at the Naval Academy in Maryland, which is good. That will be a lot different. Just getting to know what to do on those tournaments. ... What am I going to do with the down time with the players because we are going to have to study? It’s not like we can just go there and concentrate on golf the whole time. They have things they have to get done, too."

BI: How have you been preparing to hit the recruiting trail? SK: "I have been talking to the other coaches. Just getting advice from them. The interim coach last year recruited this upcoming class, so I'm starting now to look at players for next year. Both Matt (Johnson) and Kris (Kroetsch) have been great. I mean, every time I have a question, I can just give them a call and they can help me out. Matt’s recruiting is a little

different than mine because he’s on the women’s end of it. There are fewer players on the women's side so it’s different yet very similar in many ways."

BI: What can you contribute to the Bison athletic program as a whole? SK: "I’m a Bison. I have that Bison pride

BI: What does it mean to have former golfer Nathan Anderson as your assistant? SK: "When I applied for the job they told me he wanted to stay on and I wanted him to stay on (laughs). He knows what it takes to succeed at that level so I can pick his brain and see what they have done in the past and

so I’m going to try and find the best players

see if it worked and what didn’t; we

I can to fit into our program. I see nothing

will revamp it and go from there. They

but success when I look at NDSU and that is

look up to Nathan, he’s very stable. He

what I want from our program. I’m a season

knows how to win, what it takes to win

ticket holder in football, go to the basketball

and I think that’s just a benefit for him

games. Even the players I’m coaching right

to be a mentor for these kids."

now, I coached in high school, or competed against in high school. So I know them very well and what they are capable of doing. I’m very excited about that.

BI: What is your relationship like with the guys? SK: "During the interview process, I met

Kennedy’s Resume Married

to wife Renee for 32 years

Two Kids:

Shane (26), Mason (23)

23 Years Coaching

with the team. It was like we were sitting

High School Golf at Davies High School and Fargo South High School

around the table like before just talking

Physics teacher

about stuff. I think they’re excited. They know what they are getting with me and I think they have told the other guys what I’m like and what to expect. I think there’s some comfort there with them knowing what they

at Davies High School and NDSU, 12 State Championship Teams, 5-time Coach of the Year

Graduate of

NDSU in 1984 B.S. Composite Science

are going to have."


One Man, One Journey

One Extraordinary Story Finding acceptance and a place to call home should never be an issue for a Cal-Berkley graduate who has a doctorate in chemistry and has been sent by the United States government to Russia during the Cold War. The same country that trusted this man with vital petroleum secrets while behind enemy lines is the same country that forced him from his home, his family and a lucrative career in the petroleum industry almost 70 years ago. By

Joe Kerlin


B i s o n I l l u s t r a t e d • SE P T E M BE R 2 013

Overlooked In 1964, Dr. James Sugihara not only blazed the trail for JapaneseAmericans, but he also became one of the most highly distinguished administrators North Dakota State University has ever seen. This is the incredible story of an Americanborn citizen fighting his way through struggles and triumphs while earning every piece of respect a scholar of his level deserves. As it turns out, the now 95-year-old Sugihara never thought of joining the academic field when he was a promising young chemistry student at the University of California-Berkley during the late 1930s. “I thought it would have been hilarious to become a professor,” Sugihara said. “I believed that route was closed to a student back then.” What Sugihara desired was a position as a researcher for Cal and to follow a similar path his good friend Vaughan Smith was going down. It was different times back in 1939 when Sugihara completed his bachelor’s degree in chemistry. Opportunities that were wide open for his peers weren’t always available for a person of Japanese descent, making Sugihara’s path much different than what he had anticipated. “The chemistry students by and large were interviewed by the industry,” Sugihara said. “I walked into this situation and talked to a professor at Berkley about this and he said, ‘Sorry, there’s no point in you interviewing. You’re not acceptable because you’re Japanese.’” Sugihara was not mentioned as a possible candidate for the Cal research position, but his friend Smith, with whom he shared textbooks,

socialized and had a relationship “like brothers,” received the research position. Smith went on to have a spectacular career in the petroleum industry, rising through the ranks at an unusually fast pace while staying close with his college friend, Sugihara. The company Smith helped develop became the Chevron Corporation, one of the six “super major” oil companies in the world. All it took was one chance, the chance Sugihara never had.

It was an obvious bump in the road for the aspiring chemist who was unfairly forced out of the classroom and into a horse-racing track called Tanforan, along with 7,000 other Japanese-Americans. Through the removal from the classroom to the outskirts of the San Francisco and through these apparent dark times during Sugihara’s life that shad-

“This is the life of a kid that I felt I was pretty parallel with, coming from the same (academic) circumstances,” Sugihara said. “I went a different route; ended up going to graduate school, ended up in an academic position, academic administration, and I think if I were to compare notes in the end, I would have taken my path again.”

Struggle That unforgiving path would yet again take a turn for the worst on Dec. 7, 1942. While studying for his master’s at Berkley and in response to the attacks on Pearl Harbor by the Japanese, Sugihara was detained by the U.S. government and was thrown out of school because he was now seen as a threat to the country. Along with 110,000 other JapaneseAmericans, Sugihara was sent to a Japanese internment camp for five months.


owed hope for any kind of a future, he couldn’t help but find light in the situation. “There were horse stalls,” Sugihara said. “I ended up in a bunk in the center of the race track, but a bunch of people were in horse stalls for several months and that’s when I met May.” Shortly after meeting May Murakami at Tanforan, Sugihara and his new girlfriend were among the people sent to Topaz, Utah, for two weeks, and he had a chance to continue his promising academic journey in chemistry. “The only way anybody was allowed to leave the group was to go to school and to show evidence of financial capability of taking care of yourself,” Sugihara said. “The University of Utah awarded me that opportunity.” In 1944, while attending the University of Utah, Sugihara married Murakami, whom he is still with today. The couple recently celebrated their 69th wedding anniversary. Sugihara was finally able to complete his master’s degree that he started before being physically removed from Berkley and he went on to receive his doctorate in chemistry from the University of Utah in 1947.

Acceptance Sugihara scaled up the ranks, quickly becoming a full-fledged professor at Utah in 1955 and by 1963 had opportunity knocking at his door. He was shocked to find an agricultural school from Fargo was on the other side, but something swayed Sugihara to follow the path and to open the door for an exciting career change. Pondering the move to Fargo wasn’t a pleasant thought for a man who has family roots in near-


B i s o n I l l u s t r a t e d • SE P T E M BE R 2 013

(Top) A nine-yearold Sugihara (Sixth person in from the left) enjoys a piece of cantaloupe on his father, Bansaku Sugihara’s, farm. (Left) James Sugihara tied the knot with his wife, May.

by Colorado, where he was born in 1918. Sugihara remembers being dubious about making the transition to Fargo, but he ultimately knew it was the proper step to take in his career. “I knew nothing about Fargo or North Dakota,” Sugihara said. “One of the professors at NDSU, Bob Peterson, … calls me up one day and says, ‘Would you like to apply as dean for my college?’ I said ‘I would not. Are you kidding me, North Dakota?!’ Anyhow, he convinced me and said, ‘Not to put it all so short. Why don’t you come to an interview?’ So I went the spring of 1963.” After being offered the position of Dean of the College of Chemistry, Sugihara was still uncertain about the move to Fargo. A graduate student who moved here with him told him, “When you move your family to Fargo, you are going to double the oriental population.”


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Sugihara waited a year and finally made the move to Fargo. He remembers his reception to Fargo being pleasant, recalling an early conversation he had with then NDSU President Herb Albrecht. “‘You have given me a warm reception and I am very happy to receive this,’” Sugihara said. “‘I hope you understand I am not Anglo-Saxon, Caucasian,’ and he looked at me like ‘Why would that matter?’ And that’s the ways it’s been.”

program in 1965 by winning the first national championship in school history. “That one year the Bison went to a bowl game, they ended up playing a black school,” Sugihara recalled. “I thought when they scheduled this game our poor guys are going to get murdered. So we asked Mu-

The feeling of belonging and not being considered an outsider from the rest of his Caucasian co-workers made it an easy adjustment to the way of life in North Dakota for Sugihara. Another contributing factor was the athletic program and the relationships he built with numerous Bison coaches. The same spring Sugihara came to interview in Fargo, the Bison football team was coming off its worst season in school history, an astonishingly bad 0-10. NDSU President AlSugihara served dra about this and he said, brecht was looking as a professor at ‘Don’t you worry, we’re gothe University of to take the football ing to do alright.’ We asked Utah from 1955 program in a differhim what he was going to to 1963. ent direction and he do against this All-Ameriinterviewed Darrell can Tackle and he said, ‘We Mudra hoping he are going to go right at him.’ would be the man for the job. We thought ‘you are crazy’ … And Although Sugihara believed Mudra was an interesting character, he could never knock the way Mudra went about handling the men on the football team. Inheriting a winless team in 1962, Mudra turned around the football program in just three seasons, capping the resurrection of the


B i s o n I l l u s t r a t e d • SE P T E M BE R 2 013

he says, ‘They’re going to be a little uneasy about coming at us. We’re going to play our usual game and win.’” Mudra was right as the Bison defeated Grambling in the Pecan Bowl, 20-7. It was the first of ten national championships Sugihara would eventually witness at NDSU.

Sugihara adored many of the football coaches that have come through the Bison program and especially Mudra. “I thought that guy could have made it in anything other than a football coach,” Sugihara said. Throughout his career at NDSU, Sugihara remained involved with athletics and gives former NDSU President Laurel D. Loftsgard and many of the coaches such as Don Morton and Ronald Erhardt credit for getting him involved early in his time at NDSU. Even after retirement, Sugihara still buys season tickets to the football games in the FargoDome like he always has. “We were involved in not only our sphere of activity, but he (Loftsgard) had us involved in all sorts of things including the athletic program,” Sugihara said. “That’s the reason I got to know athletic coaches and athletics directors. Some well, some not very well, but that’s because we were expected to get involved as the institution as a whole.” That involvement is what Sugihara thinks makes NDSU a great institution to work for. As he explains, “they simply became friends in a sense.”

Recognition His newly formed relationships at the University level gained him an outstanding amount of respect among the faculty. His esteem became apparent when the U.S. Department of Energy Delegation approached him about joining a team that was headed to Moscow, Russia in 1978.

Sugihara (top right) was the Dean of the NDSU College of Chemistry and Physics from 1964 to 1972. He was also the Dean of the College of Science and Mathematics.

In the heat of the Cold War, Sugihara was sent to Russia with a handful of his peers to speak with Russian oil experts on geochemistry. Sugihara was apprehensive at first of their mission. “When we went, we were told, ‘If you have any things of value or significance that you want to talk about among your group, never do this in an enclosed room. The likelihood is that it is bugged,’” said Sugihara, recalling the briefing before shipping out to Russia. “‘If you want to visit, go out somewhere, go to a park out in the open and then you can visit and won’t be overheard.’” The fear of the Russian people was quickly diminished when Sugihara finally arrived to Russia. Shocked by the lack of resources, he knew this would be a


B i s o n I l l u s t r a t e d • SE P T E M BE R 2 013

useless trip to Moscow, but it would be something he would remember for the rest of his life. “Our Russian compatriots were very knowledgeable about a lot of things and I guess most of us were simply amazed that their capability of doing anything was so poor,” said Sugihara. “They didn’t even have mimeo graphic machines. Their balances were primitive, and I guess when the Russians sent a man to the moon, we were simply shocked.” Of the many accomplishments and awards Sugihara has accumulated over the years, there is one that he still holds close to his heart. In 1972 he received the Blue Key Doctor of Service Award from NDSU, one of the highest honors any member of the University can receive. At this point, the story of Dr. James

Sugihara has come full circle. He was awarded an honorary doctorate at NDSU 1998. After experiencing the struggles of being a minority living in a hostile part of the country and dealing with the discriminative behaviors in California, Sugihara couldn’t be happier with the place he is now. Sugihara will be forever grateful for the opportunities he was presented at NDSU and is glad to have said he has served the University and to have had the opportunity to raise his kids in the accepting community of Fargo, ND. At 95 years old, there isn’t much for Sugihara to accomplish that he hasn’t already. All he can hope for now is to pass along his experiences to the next aspiring chemist, who will overcome obstacles and yearn for his or her shot at making a difference, however it may be.

g n i m o Homec2013 NDSU’s upcoming Homecoming 2013 should be spectacular. The celebration, scheduled for Oct. 7-12, will showcase NDSU’s outstanding educational and research capabilities as well as its exceptional athletic teams and all friends of NDSU are invited to take part. “We’ve made big plans,” said Jobey Lichtblau, who is leading the Homecoming planning committee. “We want to better connect with traditions of the past and strengthen connections for the future.” The major festivities begin with NDSU President Dean L. Bresciani’s State of the University Address, scheduled for Thursday, Oct. 10, at 11 a.m. in Festival Concert Hall. The important annual speech, which is attended by hundreds of alumni, faculty, staff and students, is open to the public. Friday, Oct. 11, is “Yellow Out Day,” where everyone is urged to proudly wear NDSU’s yellow and green. In an exciting change, the annual Homecoming Parade

returns to downtown Fargo. Scheduled for 5:30 p.m., the parade will move along Broadway, as it did from 1922 to 1982. In addition, a pep fest for students, alumni and the public will follow the parade. On Saturday, Oct. 12, tailgating for the Homecoming game begins at 8 a.m. All are welcome to tailgate, and at the green and yellow striped tents at the south end of the FargoDome’s west parking lot, food and beverages will be available for purchase. Kickoff is scheduled for 1 p.m. for the Homecoming football game against the Missouri State University Bears. The game is a sell-out, but a limited number of standing-room only tickets may be available Friday, Oct. 11, at 8 a.m. by calling the Bison Ticket Office at 888-231-6378. “We invite everyone to join in the fun,” Lichtblau said. “This is an exciting opportunity for a community celebration.”

DONT FORGET! This years parade will be held in downtown Fargo on Broadway.

Schedule of Events Monday, Oct. 7

11 a.m. - Student lunch to meet royalty candidates

Thursday, Oct. 10

11 a.m. - President’s State of the University Address Festival Concert Hall 5-7 p.m. - NDSU Fraternity and Sorority Life: A 100-year Celebration Reception 7:30 p.m. - Homecoming Show and Coronation Festival Concert Hall

Friday, Oct. 11

YELLOW OUT DAY - Everyone wear yellow and green 11 a.m. - Athletic Hall of Fame at Holiday Inn 5 p.m. - NDSU Women's Soccer vs. U. of Nebraska Omaha at Dacotah Field 5:30 p.m. - Parade in downtown Fargo on Broadway 7 p.m. - Pep Fest following parade, outside of Fargo Civic Center

Saturday, October 12

8 a.m. - 5K run 8 a.m. - 1 p.m. - Tailgating at the FargoDome Parking Lot 8 a.m. - 4 p.m. - NDSU Bookstore open 9:30 a.m. - Minard Hall dedication 10 - 11 a.m. - NDSU Specialty Tours, Memorial Union Noon - Football Watch Party in the Memorial Union Great Plains Room 1 p.m. - Kick-off: NDSU Bison vs. Missouri State Bears at the FargoDome *View the full 2013 Homecoming schedule of events at

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Sarah Rauen Coach Rauen is entering her second season as an assistant coach for the Bison Volleyball team. The former defensive specialist from the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay will take on the responsibility of preparing the Bison defense for getting back into the Summit League tournament this fall.


ccer Karli Kopietz

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Coach Kopietz started becoming involved in the soccer program last year helping first year coach Mark Cook with the goal keepers. As a keeper herself during her one year stint at NDSU, Kopietz is now officially apart of the coaching staff and is ready to make an impact.


Matt Johnson Entering his fifth year as the women’s golf coach, Matt Johnson has seen some great talent come through the Bison program, but he would tell you the best is yet to come. Coming off their first Summit League championship, Johnson will look to lead the women to another Summit League crown.


Steve Stanard Coach Stanard coaches the best linebacker trio in the nation. Stanard was a part of the feared blackshirt defense at Nebraska during the ‘80s and before joining the Bison staff, he coached at numerous FBS schools across the country including Colorado State and Tulane.

B i s o n I l l u s t r a t e d • SE P T E M BE R 2 013

If you weren’t coaching what would you be doing?

Favorite highlight from your playing career?

Team you enjoy beating most?

What’s your hidden talent?

Finishing up medical school somewhere. I do have a pre-med degree and was in the process of applying to schools before I decided I still needed volleyball in my life.

Getting a chance to play front row after being a libero for most of my career, and solo stuffblocking a huge outside hitter from Hawaii and having my teammates go crazy.

Any team we are told we are “not supposed to beat” and of course UND!

I can actually golf pretty well. At the recent NDSU Women’s Golf Outing, I won the Longest Drive in a field that included Amy Anderson!

Police Officer or ESPN Analyst.

Beating SDSU while posting a shutout and stopping a penalty kick.


I’m a pretty good dancer.

I would probably still be running the Sports Bubble here in Fargo, which I did for a long time prior to becoming a full time coach.

I had six birdies in a row once in a tournament. That still stands out, even though it’s been a long time.

South Dakota State. They’re always our biggest rival, and we have a good time with it.

Only one person has ever beaten me at 80’s music trivia. Plus, I’m still pretty good on the trumpet, so it’s probably one of those two things.

Utilizing my MBA in the business world.

Beating Oklahoma.

Colorado State (at NDSU).

House painting.

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Thanks for playing! Find the correct answers in the October issue of Bison Illustrated.

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ACROSS 4. Has the most wins all-time as a head coach for the Bison football team. 7. Entering his 13th season as assistant coach for the track and field team. 8. Co-Head coach for the softball team. 10. Current football recruiting coordinator and the wide receiver coach. 11. Current head coach of the volleyball team. 12. Coached the football team to their first national championship in 1965. 13. Current head coach for the men’s basketball team. 14. Spent seven seasons as the Bison head football coach and went on to coach the New England Patriots. 15. Has 34 seasons under his belt as the men’s track and field head coach.


DOWN 1. Former head football coach and current Jacksonville Jaguars defensive coordinator. 2. Played for the football team from 1994-97 and is now entering his fifth season as the offensive line coach. 3. Conor Riley coaches this position group for the football team. 5. Newest assistant soccer coach. 6. Led the football team to two national championships in his only two seasons as head coach. 9. Entering her second year as a volleyball assistant coach.

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WALKER’S WORD Coach Vigen is a student of the game, and learns from experience, other coaches and also from the players on the field. Brock Jensen can see things from the line of scrimmage that cannot be seen up in the booth. He also has played in the system long enough to know what plays he likes, which ones he is comfortable with and offers suggestions in certain gameplans. As a player, when your input is not only asked for, but also implemented, you want to work that much harder to know the game inside and out.

Coordinating A Winner By Steve Walker |


hen you look through the eyes of the media, the focal point of the Bison coaching staff is Craig Bohl. Who can blame the media for putting the head coach in the limelight considering he is credited with the wins and losses, the talent of the recruiting class, the overall impression of the football team and how good he looks in a tailored suit and shiny bald head. Coach Bohl is one of the top coaches in all of college football and his resume will show just that, but he will be the first one to pass along credit to his assistant coaches. Some head coaches have to micromanage the football team they are in charge of, but Coach Bohl does the exact opposite. He lets his coaches do what they do best, coach the players. Fortunately for Coach Bohl and the Bison, the assistant coaches on the staff are phenomenal at what they do.

“As Bison fans, we should be thankful for the great coordinators that we have, and hope like heck that no one comes and steals them away.”

On the offensive side of the ball, Coach Brent Vigen has been crucial in the success of this offense since taking over as Passing Game Coordinator in 2005 and then Offensive Coordinator in 2007. I had the great privilege of playing under Coach Vigen’s tutelage for four years, and I could not have asked for a better coach. The Power West Coast Offense that NDSU runs is very complex and is tweaked a little each week depending on the opponent on the other side of the ball. Having someone with the knowledge possessed by Coach Vigen is critical to each weeks gameplan. Although, it may look like week in and week out the offense is running very similar plays, there are differences from formations, shifts, personnel and blocking schemes that make this offense keep defensive coordinators on their toes.


B i s o n I l l u s t r a t e d • SE P T E M BE R 2 013

Moving to the defensive side of the ball, the man calling the shots is Coach Chris Klieman. In the last handful of years there have been several different faces calling the signals on defense, and each brought their own new flavor to a proven Tampa-2 Defense. Coach Klieman has a ton of experience in the MVFC not only as a coach, but also as a player. When he came to NDSU from UNI, the Bison knew they were adding a great coach. Coach Kliemann does a great job of emphasizing the strengths of the Bison defense, and stressing a fundamentally sound team strategy. It all starts with the defensive line getting to their assigned gaps, and funnels all the way to the secondary’s responsibilities that makes the defense as great as they are. He puts the defense in position to make plays and the players know they can play fast because the defensive call is going to put them in a position to be successful. With the amount of experience Coach Klieman has, the opposing offensive coordinators know they are not only in a tough battle against the guys on the field, but also the man calling the shots.

As Bison fans, we should be thankful for the great coordinators that we have, and hope like heck that no one comes and steals them away. Here’s to another great season of Bison football, and to knowing that all of us fans can sit back and realize we have some of the best coordinators in college football. GO BISON! *Steve Walker started 36 games at quarterback for the Bison between 2004 - 2007. He holds school records for pass attempts in a game, pass completion percentage, yards gained passing in a game and touchdown passes in a single game.

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Look at Indiana State’s stud running back Shakir Bell. The Sycamores were concerned for a while that the talented Bell, the greased pig who wears number 22, was looking to play his senior year elsewhere when head coach Trent Miles switched schools. Bell decided to stay put.

Coaching staff stability has kept Bison consistent

An assistant coach moving on to a different program can easily lose a team a big recruit. High school players don’t want to go to a school that a coach convincingly praises, only later to accept a job elsewhere. That’s like telling someone Jimmy Johns is great, but only to have that person see you stuffing your face with a Subway cold cut combo later that day.

By Sam Herder |


any factors can be attributed to the NDSU football team’s two-year run of trophies and rings. Loyal boosters, a rabid fan base, attractive facilities and of course, a roster as stacked as Floyd Mayweather’s wallet have vaulted the Bison atop the FCS world. But another factor that is often overlooked are the orchestrators of the 28-2 record and two national championships in the last two years: the coaching staff. Not just the ability of the NDSU coaching staff, because every Bison fan is aware of the FCS Coach of the Year Craig Bohl, but also the stability. The Bison have been fortunate to keep their coaching staff intact for the most part since NDSU became contenders in the 2010 season. With the recent success, NDSU has become an appetizing market for other programs in need of a hole to fill in their own coaching staff. USC picked up Scottie Hazelton after his No. 1 ranked Bison defense won the championship in 2011. Fortunately, the Bison didn’t miss a beat with Chris Klieman, who kept the successful Tampa 2 scheme.

“It is the job of these coaches to groom high school standouts into successful Division I football players and into men. They have done both, and the stability they have provided to the players should be credited as the main reason why.”

Tim Polasek left to a FBS school in Northern Illinois after last season. This was a big loss considering Polasek recruited Wisconsin as good as Colonel Sanders cooked chicken. But other than those two coaches, the Bison hasn’t had much change to its staff in the past five years. And that pays dividends not only on the field, but off the field.

The constant rotating and departing of coordinators and assistants can cause insecurities for players. Look at freshman linebacker Pierre GeeTucker, who was recruited by every Missouri Valley team and switched his commitment at the last second to NDSU from rival Northern Iowa. Gee-Tucker said his final decision was swayed after UNI made some changes to its coaching staff and he saw more stability at NDSU.


B i s o n I l l u s t r a t e d • SE P T E M BE R 2 013


NDSU hasn’t had that problem. Looking at the coaching staff, seven coaches have been on the staff for four years or longer while four coaches have played ball at NDSU (Brent Vigen, AJ Cooper, Scott Fuchs and John Richardson). Having the ability to realistically tell your recruits the kind of experience playing for the Bison is a great tool in the recruiting game. And let’s not forget about the man who holds this staff steady. Craig Bohl, the vanilla-answering head coach who says an eye-opening statement to the media as often as SpongeBob Squarepants changes his attire. But that’s just what the Bison need this year as expectations are as high as they come. A Rex Ryan-like coach going for a three peat is a recipe for disaster. Bohl and his staff do a terrific job keeping their players humble and hungry. The players know how to answer questions. You ask them about a record-breaking performance, they will give credit to their teammates and coaches. You ask them about a great sandwich they made at lunch, they will say the ingredients did all the work. It is the job of these coaches to groom high school standouts into successful Division I football players and into men. They have done both, and the stability they have provided to the players should be credited as the main reason why.

For most of the 25 seniors on the roster, they have had the same position coach, offensive coordinator and head coach for all their years at NDSU. A lot of collegiate players at any level can’t say that. And while the Bison roster has been blessed with more talent than today’s hip hop industry, and maybe with a little help from Tim Brewster, the coaching staff at NDSU has been just as crucial in this historic run. *Sam Herder is a student at NDSU and is Sports Editor at The Spectrum.


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from increased ticket revenue, corporate sponsorships and generating the resources NDSU would need to compete at the Football Bowl Subdivision level.

Now is the time for the next step

Given the landscape of college athletics and where NDSU is as an institution, it is increasingly apparent the future home for NDSU is in the Football Bowl Subdivision, not the Football Championship Subdivision. We belong competing on a weekly basis with the likes of Kansas State, Colorado State and Minnesota, rather than the likes of Missouri State or South Dakota, with all due respect to those schools.

By Josh Swanson |


his year marks the 21st season of Bison football at the FargoDome. When the facility opened in late 1992, Fargo had a population just shy of 75,000 and not a single Buffalo Wild Wings. North Dakota State had an enrollment slightly over half of what it is now. Tailgating was practically nonexistent with only a handful of trucks in the West lot. As for Fargo, it wasn’t too long ago when there wasn’t much south of 32nd Avenue South. My oh my, how times have changed. Pretty soon, 32nd Avenue South will be the middle of town, NDSU will surpass 15,000 students and we might have four Buffalo Wild Wings. A guy can dream, can’t he? By 2040, the metro area is expected to go from a population of 209,000 to between 270,000 and 300,000 according to a study by the F-M Metropolitan Council of Government. Next spring, we’re even getting our own television series on FX, “Fargo,” based on that “oh yah sure, you betcha” hit from the Coen brothers.

“Bison Football is at the point where the next logical step is making that leap to the FBS. To make that leap, we need to find a way to get more fans into the stands.”

Fargo is bursting at the seams. The construction booming near 52nd Avenue South and Veterans Boulevard is evidence of a city that is a burgeoning business, technology, health care and education hub of the Midwest. With all that growth and excitement, one thing has remained the same: the FargoDome seats 18,700 — the same number it did when it opened in 1992. After consecutive national championships, demand for Bison Football is at an all-time high. America is in love with football. The biggest football show between Minneapolis and Seattle is in our very own city.

In August, individual tickets for Bison football games sold out in 90 minutes. There isn’t a single season ticket available. You’d have better luck getting into Taylor Swift or Justin Timberlake. Tailgating is an event in itself, an entertainment destination for thousands. Hundreds of people braved a heat index upwards of 100 degrees to wait in line at the annual Fan Day event just to get Bison yard signs. You can’t go anywhere in town without seeing Bison shirts or hearing about the excitement for the upcoming season. Unfortunately, the one area where we are limited – right now – is how many people we can get into the FargoDome. Whether the FargoDome can add to that 18,700 seat number will have a tremendous impact on the future of Bison football. To take that next step and become a Top 25 team – regardless of division – it’s critical for that seat number to grow along with us. Those seats mean everything


B i s o n I l l u s t r a t e d • SE P T E M BE R 2 013


After last season’s national championship, Jeff Sagarin had the Bison ranked as the no. 35 team in all divisions of college football. Another championship, and unbeaten season, could propel us to a Top 25 finish in Sagarin’s rankings. These rankings are used to determine the BCS, Bowl Championship Series, rankings. We finished just below national powers like Southern California (#33) and Michigan State (#34), and above dozens of recognized programs like Texas Tech (#37), Syracuse (#38), Missouri (#40), Boise State (#41), Arizona (#44), West Virginia (#48), MiamiFlorida (#49), Virginia Tech (#54) and Tennessee (#56). We would have been in the top half of the Big Ten according to Sagarin, finishing above Minnesota (#68), Iowa (#70), Purdue (#71), Indiana (#76) and Illinois (#126). We are capable of competing against these teams, and, soon, we should be competing with these teams more than once or twice a year. Ask yourself, where do we belong? Competing against the likes of Missouri State and South Dakota? Or, competing against the likes of Kansas State, Colorado State and Minnesota? To compete against these teams, however, we need a stadium that can seat more than 18,700 people. It is absolutely critical that if we’re going to eventually make the move to the FBS, we need to start thinking about adding seats to the FargoDome.

More seats could be a prerequisite for membership in a conference like the Mountain West or Mid-American Conference. These would be natural landing spots for the Bison. Top FCS teams are already making this move. Appalachian State, Georgia Southern and Old Dominion are all bolting the FCS for the FBS. Appalachian State and Georgia Southern are joining the Sun Belt Conference. Old Dominion is joining Conference USA. Montana was considering moving to the FBS last year before deciding to stay, for the time being, in the Big Sky Conference of the FCS. All these teams either recently renovated their stadiums for seating expansions, or in the case of Old Dominion, voted for a new on-campus football stadium. Bison Football is at the point where the next logical step is making that leap to the FBS. To make that leap, we need to find a way to get more fans into the stands. Fargo is moving in that direction and could certainly support the venue. Think about where we were ten years ago. In only a few short years, we’ve climbed the FCS mountain and shown we have what it takes to create a Top 25 football program regardless of division. Now, think of where we could be in the next ten years. Regular games on ESPN or ESPN2 featuring a sold-out FargoDome filled to capacity. Now is the time for that next step. The march is on! *Josh Swanson is a native of Maddock, ND, is a proud NDSU alum, was the former sports editor of NDSU’s student newspaper, “The Spectrum” and is a life-long Bison fan.

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. Fargo, N D

Mon-Fri-10am-8pm Sat-10am-5pm

a winning team that’s ALWAYS CONNECTED











When you need IT solutions for your business,

only one team makes the cut! Count on

High Point Networks








for your voice and data networking solutions.

Chris Z.







Mark K.





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Bison Illustrated Sept. 13  

Meet the coaches who are fired up for the new season of Bison Athletics.

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