Team Makers

Team Makers: A New Era

A conversation with new Team Makers Executive Director Derrick Lang

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Photo By Hillary Ehlen

Q: In a few sentences, describe what interested you in the Executive Director position with Team Makers.

 

A: The biggest reason I was interested in the Executive Director position was that it was another opportunity to continue serving our student-athletes. Team Makers provided me with so many opportunities as a student-athlete here at NDSU, I want to make sure we are continuing to provide our current and future student-athletes with even better opportunities than I had. The second reason is our donors, alumni and fans. Our support here at NDSU is second to none – an opportunity to serve a group like this is an opportunity I didn’t think twice about.

Q: As a former football player yourself, did you previously understand the impact that Team Makers has on NDSU student-athletes?

A: I think in your first couple years it’s hard to grasp the impact that a group like Team Makers is having on your experience – there is so much going on both in the classroom and on the field of play. As upperclassmen when you are a little more settled in, it’s easier to appreciate all the people and support that is around you. But until you are removed from the program and have a little time to reflect on all the life lessons, friendships and memories that the NDSU student-athlete experience provides, you don’t truly appreciate all the support you were given.

I know for myself, seeing a bunch of former teammates drive six-plus hours to see my wife and I get married a number of years ago was something I would never take for granted. Not everyone has an opportunity to create those type of friendships that last for a lifetime, Team Makers provided me that opportunity here at NDSU.

Q: Obviously, Pat Simmers assumed this position for a long time. What things did Pat do in his tenure that you wish to continue with Team Makers?

A: There is certainly only one Pat Simmers, he is a Bison’s Bison. I’ve been fortunate to spend some time with Pat here these past few months and it’s been a lot of fun for me. I think the biggest thing I have taken away from Pat is the level of customer service.

Whether you give $100 or $100,000 all of our supporters are extremely important and help us provide the best possible student-athlete experience we can here at NDSU. I truly believe that the people here at NDSU are what make us different, so I want to continue that same type of customer service.

Q: How does your previous experience with NDSU athletics (both as a student-athlete and Director of External Relations) prepare you for this position?

A: Along with my parents, I will be forever indebted to NDSU for the life lessons that I learned as a student-athlete. In addition to hard work, paying attention to detail, mental toughness and many other attributes you learn how to be a part of something bigger than yourself. Those are all characteristics that I take to work with me every day. I’ve been really fortunate to have great mentors so far in my short administrative career.

Troy Goergen gave me a chance four years ago to gain experience in the external operations world and he really took me under his wing. There are certainly similarities and differences between my previous role and what I am doing now. But at the end of the day, it comes down to building relationships and creating a level of trust between myself and our great supporters.

Q: How do Team Makers thrive in the future in your mind?

A: I think Team Makers will thrive in the future as we continue telling our story and educating our alumni and fans across the country on how to get involved and the impact they can have on our student-athletes. Team Makers is in a really good spot because of the great people that have been involved with this organization for many years. But the NDSU brand is in a different place than it was 10-15 years ago. It’s our job to make sure we are out engaging all those folks that have an affinity for NDSU and our great student-athletes.

Q: One of the big pushes from Team Makers recently is more members. In your mind, how important is it for Team Makers to hit their 5,000 member goal?

A: I think it is really important that we continue to grow our memberships not only here in the Fargo-Moorhead area but across the country. There are fans and alums of NDSU all over the country. Look at the Bison tracker app when we have been fortunate enough to be in the football National Championship in Frisco, Texas. There are people traveling down there from all over the U.S.

We truly appreciate all their support but we also want to make sure we are educating them on how important their involvement in Team Makers is to our success. Team Makers is the lifeblood of our athletics program. But our responsibilities have increased as the landscape of college athletics has evolved. Membership is an area where there is room for growth and we are excited about that.

Q: Where would you like to see Team Makers go in the next 5-10 years?

A: I think it comes back to growing our membership numbers. If we can grow those memberships numbers that will result in more dollars raised for our student-athletes. More dollars raised for our student-athletes will result in a better student-athlete experience.

Our main objective is to provide our student-athletes and with a great education and a world-class athletic experience while also providing our coaches with all the resources possible to recruit the best and brightest student-athletes they can here to NDSU. All those things come at an expense and we are committed to making sure we can cover the expenses of everything we are able to provide both our student-athletes and coaches.

Q: A follow-up to that, what are the steps that you need to take as Executive Director to get Team Makers to that point in the future?

A: Two elements that we are really focused on in the immediate future is education and engagement. From the education standpoint, we need to continue to educate people on why Team Makers does what we do and how they can get involved. The ‘why’ is our student-athletes and coaches and the how is our different giving levels. You don’t need to give a “significant” amount of money to get involved, you can get involved for as little as $100 and still make a big impact on our student-athletes.

From the engagement piece, I want to get out and interact with our alumni and fans as much as I possibly can to tell the story of NDSU athletics and where we are headed. Because we are fortunate to be able to tell a pretty darn good story, but we can’t do it without the support of our fan base.

Q: What is one thing you enjoy about the job so far?

A: There are many things that I have enjoyed about the job so far. But if I had to pick one from the two fast months I have been Executive Director, I would have to say interacting with all of our supporters at our golf tournaments this summer. There are a lot of people that are invested and care deeply about this program and that is something I appreciate being a part of.

Team Makers Luncheon And Social Schedule

Bison Nation Lunch

September 6
Delta Hotel by Marriott
1635 42nd St S, Fargo, ND 58103

Bison Nation Lunch

September 20
Holiday Inn
3803 13th Ave S, Fargo, ND 58103

Bison Nation Social

October 3
The Element by Westin
925 19th Ave E, West Fargo, ND 58078

Bison Nation Lunch

October 25
Holiday Inn
3803 13th Ave S, Fargo, ND 58103

Bison Nation Lunch

November 15
Delta Hotel by Marriott
1635 42nd St S, Fargo, ND 58103

Team Maker Fargo-Moorhead Watch Sites For The 2019 Season

Starred sites offer door prizes during Bison football games this fall.

Applebee’s
2350 45th St S
Fargo, ND

Barcode Bar & Grill
835 23rd Ave E
West Fargo, ND

Buffalo Wild Wings
1515 19th Ave N
Fargo, ND

Buffalo Wild Wings
1501 42nd St SW
Fargo, ND

Divot’s Inc.
19 Golf Course Rd
Fargo, ND

Dusty’s Tavern – Casselton, ND
620 Front St
Casselton, ND

Herd & Horns Bar & Grill
1414 12th Ave N Suite F
Fargo, ND

Knickerbocker Liquor Locker – Hickson, ND
412 Main Ave
Hickson, ND

SideStreet Grille & Pub
404 4th Ave N
Fargo, ND

SouthTown PourHouse
4281 45th St S
Fargo, ND

Town Hall Bar
103 Main Ave W
West Fargo, ND

Woody’s Bar & Grill
1550 32nd Ave S
Fargo, ND

Buffalo Wild Wings
2201 1st Ave N
Moorhead, MN

Pit 611
15057 Co Hwy 11
Audubon, MN

Spitfire
1100 North Shore Dr
Detroit Lakes, MN

TJ’s Booze & Bistro
21105 Co Hwy 22
Detroit Lakes, MN

Wilkin Drink & Eatery
2020 508 Minnesota Ave
Breckenridge, MN

Team Makers: A New Era
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