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—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.
FARGO—That line of tailgating vehicles that has been assembling the night before North Dakota State football games may not be as long this fall. The athletic department is turning more spots into reserved areas that will in theory reduce the crush into the general admission tailgating section. The current reserved spots have long been sold out, with the number of requests vastly outnumbering the available space, said Pat Simmers, NDSU's senior associate director of athletics and executive director of Team Makers booster club.
FARGO — The scale read 336 pounds when Quinn Alo made his official football recruiting visit to North Dakota State Universty. It was probably around that point that Alo, then a high school kid in LaMoure, N.D., realized that if he was ever going to make it at the Division I FCS level, he had to change. Once the prep basketball season ended, he got after it. He drank nothing but water. No pop. No milk. Just water.
FARGO—It's a yearly trip to the NCAA softball tournament that has happened so often over the years for North Dakota State that you could almost pen it on the calendar. So here it is deep into 2017 and the Bison are sitting with a 17-23 overall record. Moreover, they actually—and take a deep breath—lost a Summit League regular season game. And it came in the form of a doubleheader sweep at home no less, a drubbing last Saturday at the hands of Indiana Purdue-Indianapolis.
FARGO—It appears North Dakota State is warming up to the idea of taking an occasional FBS transfer. University of Illinois receiver Desmond Cain said he will enroll at NDSU this fall, the second straight year the Bison are going the major college route for some help. Last year's punter, Jackson Koonce, came from Southern Methodist University. In Cain, the Bison are getting an accomplished Big Ten Conference receiver, who as a freshman two years ago was third on the team in receptions with 53. That included 10 catches for 102 yards against Ohio State.
FARGO—After an FBS scheduling drought that lasted a few years, North Dakota State is slowly getting back into the mix thanks to the Pac-12 Conference. The athletic department on Monday, April 10, announced a one-year agreement with the University of Arizona. The Sept. 17, 2022, game at Arizona Stadium in Tucson is one of three with Pac-12 teams in a five-year period. The Bison play at the University of Oregon in 2020 and at Colorado in 2024.
FARGO — For the last eight years, Ben and Amanda Woodside have virtually traveled the world in the name of Ben's professional basketball career, with more stops than both could have ever imagined. That is about to change. Next year, he is following her career. "The roles have changed," Ben said. That means the playing career of the greatest player in the history of North Dakota State men's basketball is over. Woodside is retiring at age 31 with the only basketball ahead of him a summer camp venture with former teammate Lucas Moormann.