Photos By J. Alan Paul Photography and NDSU Athletics
Nick Magee hasn’t strayed far from the world of wrestling. After his 72-30 career record in an NDSU singlet in the early 2000s, he’s made several stops coaching the sport. He’s now back with the NDSU program as the director of alumni relations while teaching physical education and health in Fargo.
An All-American career
Magee knew instantly he wanted to be a part of the Bison wrestling family when he stepped foot on campus. NDSU was having great success as a Division II program and won the 2000 national title a couple weeks before Magee came to Fargo. It was two years after the Bison won the 1998 national championship. He saw the trophy, the rings, and the Hudson, Wisconsin, native was hooked.
“The success was what originally attracted me to (NDSU),” Magee said. “In high school, it was usually me and a few other guys that were good on our team, but we were never good as a team. It’d be six decent guys and seven not-so-decent. That was the big thing here … I said, ‘This is really cool and something I want to be a part of.’”
NDSU won the national title again in 2001 when Magee wrestled unattached as a redshirt.
He went on to be a four-year starter and had a 72-30 record. Magee was an all-American in 2004 at 133 pounds when he finished fourth at the 2004 NCAA Division II National Meet after being the North Central Conference champion and NCAA North Region champion. He also qualified for the national meet the year before.
In 2005, Magee was a team captain and team MVP on NDSU’s first year as a Division I program. As a senior, he had a 19-6 record.
“Wrestling for Bucky Maughan is a big thing,” Magee said about his old coach. “And then the guys. I’m from Wisconsin, so that’s what got me to come up here. With all the other trips I took, the vibe I got on my recruiting trip at NDSU, I said, ‘These guys are cool and I’d like hanging out with them.’ The brotherhood with those guys and just how hard we worked together. Those are things that stick out to me.”
Transitioning to coaching
When his career competing on the mat wrapped up, he knew what he wanted to do. In fact, he knew he wanted to be a coach since high school.
“I noticed it was something I did as an athlete when I was on the bench watching the other guys wrestle. I was coaching,” Magee said. “My little brother was a wrestler, too, and I was helping him out. I had some really good teacher-coaches growing up in middle school and high school that I thought were good guys, and I took what they gave me and wanted to keep going with that.”
He began as a student-coach for NDSU in 2006. In 2007-08, Magee was hired as an assistant coach for Minnesota powerhouse Apple Valley High School. He returned to town as the head coach at Fargo North High School from 2008-11. Magee then spent five years as an assistant for Concordia College. He is now in his second year of helping with the Bison Wrestling Club and being the director of alumni relations for NDSU.
“Basically what I do is reach out to all the alumni,” Magee said on his duties at NDSU. “I do newsletters. I work on getting socials organized and hotels and whatnot for all our fans and alumni for big events like the Big 12 and NCAA Tournaments. I’m basically keeping everyone in the loop. That’s something that was a missing piece since Bucky left. I remember him doing that a lot when I was in school and I thought it was an important piece.”
“The brotherhood with those guys and just how hard we worked together. Those are things that stick out to me.” – Nick Magee
As an alum himself, the position is rewarding and gives him a chance to catch up with former Bison wrestlers and share stories.
“It’s a good thing because you see with all these big schools and what they do, and for us being in such a big conference as a mid-major school, it’s important to keep us up to date,” Magee said. “I want to keep all those D2 guys involved, too. They are a big part of it. If you think of the tradition of NDSU Athletics, they started all of it. Bison Pride, it’s not just a saying, it’s a real thing. And we want people to stay involved.”
Magee is also a physical education and health teacher at Washington Elementary in the morning and Woodrow Wilson Alternative High School in the afternoon.
“I’ve always liked school and sports,” he said. “I put it together and I keep myself pretty healthy. Those are things I can relate to and keep exploring with other kids. Just making sure they start making healthy life choices. I figured, too, if I wanted to coach, that’s a good route to go.”
His coaching nowadays is primarily with the Bison Wrestling Club. Magee has started a youth movement in the Fargo-Moorhead area, which has recently branched out further, to try and promote the sport of wrestling. He’s doing that through the club that is hosted in the NDSU wrestling room at the Sanford Health Athletic Complex and is also a regional training site for USA Wrestling.
Magee’s 9-year-old son, Griffin, is getting into wrestling. Along with daughters Harper, 7, and Henley, 3, Magee is maintaining a busy life as a coach, teacher and father.