Photos by J. Alan Paul Photography and NDSU Athletics
Jayne (Even) Gust is a Bison Athletic Hall of Famer (2015) who was a power forward on Amy Ruley’s basketball team from 1996-2000. Gust was a first-team Division II All-American and won the 2000 Honda Award Division II Female Athlete of the Year after her senior season. In other words, she’s on the Mount Rushmore of basketball players who have played in a Bison jersey.
What’s She Doing Today?
After spending time in the Minneapolis area after her graduation from NDSU with her husband Mike, the Gusts moved back to Fargo where they reside with their daughters Addyson and Elyn, and their two young twin boys Graham and Jude. Gust is now working as the Public Affairs Director for Sanford Health in Fargo.
Gust joined Team Makers shortly after returning to Fargo in the mid-2000s. She saw firsthand the impact this community-based support group had on NDSU student-athletes during her time as a Bison. Team Makers covered the cost of her scholarship while she played, and Team Makers continues to cover scholarship costs today.
“We had tremendous fan support as women’s basketball players back in the day, but you don’t quite know the other extent of it,” Gust said of her time as a Bison ball player. “The funds were raised so that everyone could get a good education and have access to what we needed. It was pretty remarkable what we’ve built up in this neck of the woods.”
“I think sometimes there’s a perception that because football is having success, that’s the focus, and it’s not. It’s for every student-athlete” – Jayne Gust
Gust has been on the Team Makers Executive Committee for a year as an at-large member. The committee’s focus over the last year has been to stay at the forefront of NDSU support in Fargo. The group has also made tremendous strides in expanding the Bison brand to NDSU supporters across the country.
Gust couldn’t reveal any plans right now because Team Makers and NDSU are still working side-by-side on the details. But the massive support groups in North Carolina and Arizona are examples of what’s to come for the organization in terms of reach across the country. “We’re just looking at ways we can increase that participation throughout the country and the national brand,” Gust said.
“I know people in Minneapolis when we lived down there…we would go to Joe Senser’s and watch (football games), and it was so fun to feel that camaraderie of the Bison fans. I’ve been to a lot of different places, played at different venues with different teams, and I just think that we have something so special and so unique that when you can be in a completely different marketplace, and still have that type of support, it’s really tremendous.”
How You Can Get Involved
Gust said Team Makers would love and welcome anyone who wants to join their organization. All ages and backgrounds can help. People have gotten involved with Team Makers after committing a $100 yearly donation that in turn goes to Bison student-athletes, in all sports.
“I think sometimes there’s a perception that because football is having success, that’s the focus, and it’s not,” Gust said of Team Makers’ mission. “It’s for every student-athlete no matter what sport they’re playing, and I can appreciate that because I had friends who were in all different sports, and they were working just as hard as any other athlete so I really appreciate that about our leadership team.”
Becoming a Team Maker and spreading the word is one way you can get involved, said Gust. The organizations will also host different events throughout the summer. The golf outings have been the most popular, according to Gust. You can find the entire schedule of Team Maker events by going to their website: ndsuathleticfund.com.