Photo By J. Alan Paul Photography
Jayne (Even) Gust was the ultimate student-athlete for the NDSU women’s basketball team in the late 90s. During her illustrious career, she achieved many different awards. Her legacy at NDSU is highlighted by her achievement of the Honda Broderick Trophy as the NCAA Division II Female Athlete of the Year. Her story begins with her path to NDSU and the life-long impact this decision has had on her life.
Jayne Gust was a star in high school. The Sioux Falls, S.D. native had ample amounts of opportunity to play her college career at many universities across the Midwest, but basketball was what she excelled at best.
Volleyball is what drew Gust to NDSU first, but the timing of her visit couldn’t have worked better for the basketball program.
The Bison women’s basketball team was also in the middle of Division II dominance during Gust’s recruitment. They had championships in five of six years from 1991-1996.
But Gust recognized the importance of excelling as a student-athlete rather than just an athlete. And after meeting head coach Amy Ruley and her assistant Kelli Layman during her volleyball visit, she knew the NDSU culture was what she was looking for.
“NDSU took an interest in me as a person and the goals that I had for my collegiate career,” Gust said about her decision to attend NDSU.
The fan support of the program also didn’t hurt when Gust made her decision.
Packed Bison Sports Arenas and a rabid fan base also caught the attention of the high school senior.
“It was special,” Gust said. “It was crazy to see a venue that has that many fans present for women’s games, and then to go to other schools and hear them say they might get a few hundred here and there.”
The pride, tradition and passion towards the school are what drove Gust to NDSU. What kept her here were the people she fell in love with along during her four years.
The experience Gust had in her time goes far beyond athletics. Much of what she learned as a Bison she uses in her day-to-day life.
“There is being part of a winning tradition, but also working towards that,” Gust said. “People see the wins and losses but don’t see what goes on behind the scenes.”
Becoming a Division II athlete of the year doesn’t just happen without hard work. Gust credits women’s athletic director Lynn Dorn, and women’s basketball coaches Ruley and Layman, for becoming the best basketball player possible. In return they have now acted as mentors for Gust.
“I took it for granted while I was in school, and even in grad school, but having left and then having come back to Fargo, I re-engaged our relationship and realized what amazing mentors they truly are to me,” said Gust. “They are strong, intelligent women who have had immense success. I continue to strive to have similar successes in my own career, and value their relationships immensely.”
Their influence on Gust has been a positive one and has helped her in her success throughout her life.
Gust is now a Public Affairs Specialist at Sanford Health in Fargo. She also was part of United Way’s 35 Under 35 program last year. She has been successful in her career and much of that can be pointed back to the lessons learned from her time at NDSU and the women who left a positive impact on her.
Although her time as a student-athlete at NDSU has come and gone, Gust still keeps a close tab on the teams. She knows what it takes to be successful in the program and she sees great promise in the current women’s basketball team.
“It is extremely exciting as an alumnus to see the young players out there working so hard again,” Gust said. “I think Coach (Maren) Walseth has brought a sense of pride back to the program, which will bring out the best in her athletes.”
The work ethic of the current team impresses alumni like Gust who have given there all to the program. Beyond just the work ethic, the overall student-athlete aspect of the team is what impresses Gust the most. The athletes are getting the job done in the classroom rather than just on the court, and that makes Gust proud to be a Bison.
The path Gust has been on has been positively impacted by her time at NDSU. It has gotten her where she is today, and will continue to guide her in her future. The lessons learned as a Bison are lifelong lessons that have shaped her successful profession career after an amazing collegiate career.