Chuck Klabo had his first meeting with NDSU football head coach Rocky Hager when he was in second grade. Okay, maybe they weren’t talking about the Bison offensive line philosophy or what classes he should take his freshman year, but he met the coach that would eventually recruit him in the airport while headed to Florida for a family vacation.
“My dad, he’s a big NDSU guy and he’s quick to talk to anybody,” Klabo remembers. “After we landed, he (Hager) found my dad and gave him a business card with one free ticket to a game for the next season.”
Fast-forward 10 years and Klabo was taking the FargoDome field for the Bison and Hager’s successor Bob Babich in 1998.
Klabo is from Finley, N.D., a 25-minute drive from Mayville, N.D., which is traditionally a town split down the middle for its support of NDSU and the University of North Dakota. But the decision to become a Bison was a no-brainer with Klabo’s father being a former basketball player for the Bison in the late 60s and Klabo’s exposure to the support from fans at both basketball and football games he attended as a kid.
“NDSU has a tremendous amount of history and a lot of success,” Klabo said. “Everybody talks about Bison Pride and it’s just fun to be a part of it. Now, when you see the team doing so well and four straight national championships, it’s just fun to know you were a part of it in our own little way.”
Today, Klabo is an Agency Manager for Choice Financial in Fargo. He’s been in the insurance industry for 10 years after completing a brief stint as a professional football player. Klabo was a reserve lineman for the Cleveland Browns in 2003 and spent a season overseas in 2004 playing for the Rhine Fire, in Dusseldorf, Germany.
“I think athletics and sports, in general, teach you so much about responsibility and accountability,” Klabo said when asked about the application of Bison Pride in his professional life. “Those are some of the lifelong lessons that being in athletics bring you and to get to do it with such a great group of guys like I did, I was very lucky and fortunate.”[/text_output]
[image type=”none” float=”none” link=”true” info=”none” info_place=”top” info_trigger=”hover” src=”3811″ alt=”Chuck Klabo North Dakota State University Bison football player”]
[text_output]The Bison went 73-19 during Klabo’s career, including a trip to the 2000 NCAA Division II playoffs when the team made it to the semifinals.
Leah Klabo, the offensive tackle’s younger sister, played center on the basketball team for the Bison from 2000-05.
When asked about his kids being third generation Bison, Chuck Klabo isn’t sure, but “you never know.” He’s been married to his wife Sally, a pharmacist at Southpointe Pharmacy, for 12 years and they have three children: Josie (8), Maya (4) and Bennett (2).
“It’s fun to bring them to games and to get them exposed to what NDSU Athletics and sports are all about,” Chuck Klabo said. “So it’s been a lot of fun to watch the team with them and see the excitement in their eyes.”
Chuck Klabo has been a Team Maker since graduating and continues the tradition of going to Bison games with his own kids and wife, just like his father.
But he’s still waiting on the moment to run into Chris Klieman at the airport to fully submerge the next generation of Klabo’s in Bison Pride.[/text_output]