Thoughts about Coach Bohl and his exit to Wyoming
One of my favorite movies of all-time is Major League. The fictional story is about the Cleveland Indians, a rag-tag bunch of eccentric, overachieving ball players that manage to surprise everyone in rallying to win their division in a one-game playoff against the New York Yankees. During the climax of the movie, the team learns that management plans to break the team apart after the season in hopes of creating a team bad off enough the following year to move the ballclub from Cleveland to Miami.
The locker room is dead silent as the guys absorb the news that threatens to derail all they hoped to accomplish. In that pivotal moment, they had two options. They could fold up like a cheap lawn chair, feel sorry for themselves, and quit. Or, they could fight. They chose to fight. Jake Taylor, the team’s leader, an aging catcher with two bad knees stands and addresses the team. In a stoic, business-like manner, Taylor tells his teammates, “Well, then I guess there’s only one thing left to do.” One of his teammates asks, “What’s that.” Taylor’s response is unequivocal. “Win the whole (bleeping) thing.”
The news of North Dakota State head coach Craig Bohl leaving Fargo for Wyoming has struck like a thunderbolt threatening to derail the quest for a perfect season and three consecutive national championships. But, like Major League, you can bet our players in the locker room have already chosen to fight. They have no quit in them. They are not moping around feeling sorry for themselves. Some have taken to Twitter. Their message is simple, unified and unmistakable. Don’t feel sorry for the Bison, we’re on a mission and we will not be denied. We’re winning the whole bleeping thing.
Christian Dudzik tweeted: [pullquote_left]“I’m excited for the opportunity to prepare and compete this week and the rest of the players are too. #GoBison.”[/pullquote_left]
John Crockett, the fiery running back, said it doesn’t stop here. “Love My Brothers … Doesn’t stop here.”
His backfield running mate, Sam Ojuri, echoed those thoughts. “The strength of the Bison is the Herd, and the strength of the Herd is the Bison.”
From Kyle Emanuel, “Playing on ESPN Saturday at 11 am! Excited for another 60 mins with this Bison team.”
And, according to Bryan Shepherd, “At the end of the day I love my team and we need to stay focused for this upcoming game. It’s about the love we have for each other.”
During his Sunday afternoon press conference addressing the events of the previous twenty-four hours, another Taylor, NDSU Athletic Director Gene Taylor, summed up the attitude of the player’s only meeting earlier in the day. “At the end of the day they know what they need to do and what they want to accomplish and they know what they need to do moving forward,” said Taylor. We should all follow their example. There is no time or reason to sulk and feel sorry for ourselves. There’s work to be done. If our players aren’t sulking and feeling sorry for themselves, you have zero right to sulk and feel sorry for yourself.
Coach Bohl has taken our program and the Bison Family to a level that not even the most ardent booster could have reasonably expected when he arrived in 2003. If you can’t see that, you’re selfish. If you can’t see that and appreciate what Bohl has done, you shouldn’t call yourself a Bison. One of the smartest things I’ve read about the situation and Bohl departing for Wyoming is that too many good things have transpired to be bitter. Too many good things have happened to be bitter. We’re in a position for many, many more good things to happen for NDSU because of what our football program has done under Bohl. NDSU is in a better spot today than it was in 2003, and is a nationally known commodity, because of Bohl’s work.
Same goes for Bohl’s staff, whether they stay in Fargo or follow him to Laramie. Those guys bleed Bison green. Those guys, and their families, have given their hearts and soul to this program – to us. They have sacrificed more than you could imagine to give you a football program that you can be proud of. I’m proud to know some of them. I’ll continue to be proud they were Bison, long after they’ve coached their last game here because of where they’ve taken our program. We’re in a position to hire a top flight head coach to succeed Bohl, a coach who will continue our traditions, and will continue to build championship teams. We’re in this position because Bohl and his staff have taken NDSU Football to where it is today. We’ll stay in this position because you and me – us – will remain committed and hold steadfast to the Bison Family.
The only option we have as the Bison Family is to continue supporting this team. We’re onboard, no questions asked. Make that commitment. That’s your job as a fan. That’s what our players need you to do. So that’s what we’ll do. That’s the strength of the Herd. The Bison Family is bigger and stronger than one person. A Herd is not one Bison. A Herd is the 24 seniors that are committed to finishing this season by raising another trophy in Frisco. A Herd is the 109 players on this roster fighting for each other. A Herd is the 18,000+ fans that make the Fargodome one of the loudest and best home fields in all of college football. You are the Herd. We are the Herd. Individually, but more importantly, together. This is what the Strength of the Herd is the Bison, and the Strength of the Bison is the Herd means.
We’re still the Bison. Nothing has changed that. Nothing can ever change that. The Herd is not leaving with Coach Bohl. Our tradition is not leaving with Coach Bohl. The Bison Family has never been stronger. Our best days remain ahead of us. And when Gene Taylor announces and welcomes our next head coach, he’ll join the Bison Family. And we’ll all be up for the kickoff, because the march is on.