As I look back to December 2002; I was sitting in class as a senior in high school. Admittedly, I think I had a case of senioritis and when recruiters came in and got me out of class I couldn’t be happier. One day, the school’s secretary came and asked me to come down and talk with Coach Glenn Caruso from NDSU. My first reaction was, “they have colleges in North Dakota?” After a number of visits with Coach Caruso and my first visit to Fargo, I realized that this was where I wanted to go to school and play football.
Fast-forward almost 11 years to today and I can’t imagine a better life decision than coming to Fargo, where I am proud to now call home. As I look back over the time I have been in Fargo, both as a student-athlete at NDSU and now a family man working in our great community, I have to smile as I see the great changes that have happened with NDSU and Fargo.
On Saturday’s during football season when the Bison are at home, the FargoDome transforms into one of the largest (and loudest) cities in the great state of North Dakota. Season ticket requests now exceed the number available, and single game tickets sell out in less than two hours from becoming available. Do Bison fans like Bison Football? No, we LOVE Bison football! Sept. 21, 2013 will be remembered as one of the biggest days for NDSU and Fargo when ESPN’s College GameDay came to Fargo and our great community was in the spotlight.
No one really knows how many people were downtown, but there were a lot! Bison fans came out by the thousands and welcomed the crew from ESPN with open arms. Heck, we even named a baby Bison after Lee Corso and he walked it out of the Fargo Theater with Thundar’s head on. What a cool experience for not only us fans, but the players, coaches and administrators at NDSU. I was able to talk with some teammates and have a great time as we took in the festivities downtown and the common theme was “not in a million years could we see this coming to Fargo.”
By the way, there was a game that Saturday and the Thundering Herd came out of it with a convincing shutout victory and a 3-0 record staying on top of the polls at number one in the nation for FCS. What has been the biggest factor in the transformation? The players? Coach Bohl? Gene Taylor? Joe Chapman? Bison Nation? I think it has been a collaboration of all these things and as fans we have to feel very lucky that we are in the position that we are today.
Next on the menu is conference play, and the Missouri Valley Conference is as tough as it gets. Not only is it the best conference in all of FCS, but it is the most physical. The Bison are diving right in with the first two opponents being SDSU in Brookings for the Dakota Marker and UNI in Fargo for what has become a great game every year. This type of conference schedule has proven to prepare the Bison for the playoffs and hopefully another run to Frisco, Texas (which is becoming a home away from home for the Bison and Bison Nation.)
As we prepare as fans for another great conference season watching the Herd week in and week out, make sure to remember where we have come from since transitioning to Division-1. NDSU has the groundwork in place, a great history of success and a team that is phenomenal. We need to be grateful to cheer for the premier university in FCS and continue to support the Thundering Herd! GO BISON!