By Ethan Mickelson
Photo By Paul Flessland
Before they were legends in the Fargodome and the Bison Sports Arena, Jared and Beth (Bue) Maher were two dedicated NDSU student-athletes whose love for their sport propelled them both to positions as team captain, fighting for the green and gold in the late 1990s.
In a chance meeting, the two went head-to-head in a basketball scrimmage. Jared Maher and his talented football teammates were on the women’s home court and up against some of the fiercest athletes in the old Bison Sports Arena, including Beth Bue.
Whether the scrimmage was intentionally set up as a match- making tactic is unclear, but its effect is evident in the couples’ 13 years of marriage. After meeting in a more formal setting at a wedding, Jared and Beth began dating, sharing their passion for all sports and pushing each other’s ability in countless one- on-one games. Even though they competed often, they were also each other’s biggest fans.
“I had just got done playing football when we started dating but she still had two years of basketball left, so I got to be a Beth Bue fan,” said Jared.
From 1996 to 2000, Jared battled opponents while solidifying his place on the defense as a linebacker. As a graduate of St. Mary’s High School in Bismarck, North Dakota, he led the Bison in tackles his last two seasons and was selected as a first-team All-American his senior year. Jared was a two-time first-team All-North Central Conference linebacker. In his senior year, he helped the Bison make a playoff run that ended in the Division II semifinals.
As a graduate of Austin High School in Minnesota, Beth ruled the court from the three-point line from 1999 to 2003. She made her mark as a Bison by setting the single-season record for three-point field goals attempted and made with 72 total three pointers in 33 games her senior season. The record stood for 13 years and was broken last year by Taylor Thunstedt. But one record remains. Her nine three-pointers against Northern Colorado in 2002 still stands as the most threes by any men’s or women’s basketball player in NDSU history.
After graduating from NDSU, Jared took a leap into the business world, founding Maher Financial Group and building it from the ground up. Beth went on to earn her master’s degree in elementary education and now she’s teaching classes at NDSU through a collaborative program with Valley City State University. She is also currently going back to school at NDSU, working toward her Ph.D. in adult education.
On top of it all, Jared and Beth have four children: Annabelle (10), Emmalise (7), John (4) and Sylvia James (10 months), who are all prime candidates for continuing their family’s rich Bison lineage. Playing baseball, basketball, football, soccer, gymnastics and music, the young Mahers seem to share the same passion for athletics as their parents.
“The most important thing for us is that they have fun doing several different things,” said Jared. “Our boy recently said he wants to play football like his dad. He’s in taekwondo right now and doing great. Our girls are very musical, but they’re in the midst of playing basketball right now. Our Saturdays are made up of balancing Bison football and our girls’ games.”
A Long Line of Bison
The Maher marriage united two families with long lines of Bison history. Beth’s sister, Lisa, continued in her sister’s footsteps at NDSU, playing at the guard position for the women’s basketball team from 2004-2008.
“We always joke that I’d beat her in a game outside the three- point line and she’d beat me down the court,” said Beth. “We are definitely different players, whereas I was a shooter, power forward position while she was a fast, point guard type.”
Jared’s grandfather, John Maher, played baseball for NDSU in the 1940s and his uncle, Dan Maher, played football in the 1970s. Beth’s brother-in-law, Adam Witt, husband of sister Emily, played on the men’s basketball team as a guard, too.
While they aren’t the stars of game day anymore, Jared and Beth still exude the same passion and excitement for Bison athletics, now with a little help from their own Bison “fans-in- training.”
“We’ve had our season tickets for about 11 years now so we’ve sat by the same people and they know when Jared’s coming. Playoff season hits, this guy doesn’t sit down and he does not shut his mouth,” said Beth.
“And they accept that,” said Jared.
Drawing on the discipline they learned as student-athletes, the Maher family’s future is sure to be filled with games of all sorts as well as professional achievements. Beth will continue to work toward her doctorate while Jared maintains his passion for finance.
“I always wanted to work with finance and people on an individual level,” Jared explained. “It’s not something that was easy to get started, but I figured, ‘Why not start when I was young and used to working really hard?’”
Going forward, Beth and Jared will draw on their devotion to working hard in their hectic lives, a formula that has warranted much success in their athletic, professional and personal endeavors.
“Hard work pays off,” said Beth. “I went back and was ironically looking through old boxes and in all my newspaper articles I said, ‘Hard work pays off,’ and it does.”