Jeff Kolpack covers North Dakota State athletics, the Fargo Marathon and golf for The Forum. His blog can be accessed at www.bisonmedia.areavoices.com. On the radio, Kolpack & Izzo sports talk show runs from 9-11 a.m. every Saturday morning. April through August, the WDAY Golf Show with Jeff Kolpack runs from 8-9 a.m.
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FARGO — Nick Saban got a raise Tuesday morning, May 2, because, well, it had probably been awhile. The amounts are staggering. He received a $4 million signing bonus, meaning he was $4 million richer at lunch than when he woke up in the morning. His annual salary this season is $6.7 million and he gets another $400,000 simply by staying at the University of Alabama for the entire year. He'll get more just for not moving than most FCS coaches make in a season. ESPN is reporting his total yearly income for 2017 will be $11.2 million. For coaching college football.
FARGO—The North Dakota State men's basketball season ended at about 10:15 p.m. on March 4, the result of a first-round loss in the Summit League tournament. In essence, Cameron Hunter's 2017-18 season started a few minutes later. The redshirt season was officially over. "It's time, it's go time," Hunter said. His time has a chance to come sooner than expected after the unexpected departure of starting point guard Khy Kabellis two weeks ago. That is also Hunter's position and he'll be spending the next few months preparing to give it his best shot, he said.
FARGO—If athletics is the front porch of the university, a phrase echoed since the first shovel went in the ground on North Dakota State's Division I reclassification over a decade ago, then the front door on the north end of campus is getting bigger all the time. It's also moving a little east.
FARGO—North Dakota State was in the forefront of the NFL Draft a year ago thanks to quarterback Carson Wentz. There were more highlights of Bison football games than almost any other school in the country. And then, with the No. 2 overall pick, the Philadelphia Eagles took Wentz.
FARGO — Sue Thompson was 14 years old when she lost her older sister in a cheerleading accident that turned the North Dakota State campus silent. It was more than 30 years ago and as the memory bank goes, she's looking to replenish the riches. If there's a photo of Janis Thompson out there, she would like to see it. "If there's any new fresh image, any story, it brings her back to us," Sue said. "It just makes us feel so good to relive our memory of her."
FARGO — As if the North Dakota State backfield isn't crowded enough, Ty Brooks gave the Bison football coaches something else to think about: Him. The sophomore from Fargo South scored two touchdowns including an electric 60-yard run on Saturday, April 22, in the annual Green and Gold Spring Game. Granted, Brooks isn't going to overtake starters Lance Dunn or Bruce Anderson with his performance, but he showed this spring that space his is friend.
FARGO—North Dakota State assistant football coach Bryan Shepherd showed on Friday, April 21, that he can still play the game. It just happened to be kickball. The former Bison defensive back was part of a coach's team that took on some players in a fun pick-up game that ended the practice part of spring football. Shepherd still has the speed that got him in an NFL camp. But, now, on to the main event of sorts.
FARGO—The North Dakota State men's basketball program took a punch in the gut of sorts on Thursday, April 20, with the announcement that starting point guard Khy Kabellis intends to transfer. The decision took everybody by surprise, including the head coach. Dave Richman said it was a "pretty short conversation" between he and Kabellis. "Disappointment," he said. "He made a decision that was in the best interest for himself. We're disappointed, but we look forward to moving forward with a group of committed guys."
The football fan will find plenty of options this weekend at the Fargodome thanks to the annual North Dakota State spring game. You can start with the Bison Showcase on Friday night, which includes a platform of auction items for any green-and-gold blooded man cave. On Saturday, the players will be available for autographs, a tailgating expo will provide ideas for the parking lot next fall and Games Galore will have its inflatables for the kids to enjoy. But here's a suggestion.
FARGO—One thing we've learned from North Dakota State football Saturdays: The game is just part of the day, with the rest of it filled with either pregame stuff, postgame stuff or both. For those fans who get up at dawn, tailgate it up until game time and then go out for dinner and whatever afterward, there should be some sort of persistence award for you. You lay it all on the line, you give 110 percent and you let the chips fall where they may.