Photo By Hillary Ehlen
Well, this is a little weird. For the first time in my life, I’m writing about the Bison as a college grad.
For those of you who don’t know, I launched my column for Bison Illustrated last September — the beginning of my senior year — and contributed monthly throughout the 2018-19 athletic seasons at North Dakota State. Nolan, the editor of this great publication, has been super flexible and open in allowing me to write about anything I desire and that has made the experience so enjoyable.
Since graduating, various doors have opened and closed. Much to my benefit, one of the doors that opened was Spotlight Media, and funny enough, I now work for these guys!
And so I continue to call Fargo home and be a part of this great community. With that being said, I figured there’s no better way to transition into a new era of “Slaubaugh’s Scoop” than with a greeting to the newest Bison, the “fresh meat” of North Dakota State:
You probably have no idea who I am, and you’re fortunate for that because boy am I weird, but I was in your exact shoes four years ago. A Bismarck, N.D., native, I graduated from Shiloh Christian in May 2015 and moved into NDSU’s Johnson Hall the ensuing fall.
Being the sports fanatic that I am, I would be lying if I didn’t partly choose NDSU because of the great sports atmosphere surrounding the university. The football team was just coming off of four straight national championships and two ESPN College GameDay visits while the basketball team was fresh off of two straight NCAA Tournament appearances.
I asked myself, ‘Did I get here at just the wrong time? There’s no way the athletic programs can possibly replicate the memories and success that the previous graduating class witnessed the past four years, right?’
It felt like such a legitimate question to ask. Now, as I sit here and reflect on the past four years, it’s pretty incredible to think about how that question was answered. Here’s a start:
• Developed the No. 2 overall pick in the 2016 NFL Draft, Carson Wentz.
• Added to their ring collection with 2015, 2017 and 2018 FCS Football titles.
• Got their football head coach swooped and stolen by a Big 12 school — the ultimate compliment.
• Coached the winningest quarterback in FCS Football history, Easton Stick.
• Bison men’s hoops earned a trip to the Big Dance, won a game, and then were featured on the national stage against Duke on CBS with Jim Nantz, Grant Hill and Bill Raftery on the call.
• Softball team ran the table with four Summit League titles — now winners of six straight and 10 of the last 11.
Those are just a few of NDSU’s accomplishments during my college stint. There’s also an absolute boatload across the other programs I missed. Nuts, right?
Yes, it is. The success at NDSU is not normal, but a standard.
Go ahead. Expect NDSU freshman QB Trey Lance to blossom into a two-way stud. Expect the football team to win multiple rings (start planning your Frisco trips!). Expect the men’s basketball team to punch multiple tickets to the Big Dance. Expect the women’s basketball team to rise through the Summit League standings under new head coach Jory Collins.
While these sound like unfair standards and expectations that could lead to disappointment, for me, it’s a confidence spearheaded by the dedication NDSU Athletics has to putting a championship-caliber product on the playing field.
And oh yeah, it’s also because I’m spoiled. As is the rest of Bison Nation. And, well, you are a part of that now.
So, freshman, expect greatness. Do not take it for granted.
Enjoy your time at NDSU. I know I did.