North Dakota State Bison
|This article relies on references to primary sources. (December 2013)|
|North Dakota State Bison|
|University||North Dakota State University|
|Conference||The Summit League
Missouri Valley Football Conference
|Athletic director||Gene Taylor|
|Varsity teams||8 men, 8 women teams|
|Basketball arena||Bison Sports Arena|
|Baseball stadium||Newman Outdoor Field|
|Other arenas||Bentson Bunker Fieldhouse|
|Fight song||On Bison
We are the Pride
The North Dakota State Bison is the name of the athletic teams of North Dakota State University (NDSU), which is located in the city of Fargo, North Dakota. The teams are often called the "Thundering Herd". The current logo is a bison.
NDSU's intercollegiate sports teams participate in NCAA Division I in all sports. The football team is a member of the Missouri Valley Football Conference of the Football Championship Subdivision, while the Wrestling team is a member of the Western Wrestling Conference. The other sports teams are members of The Summit League.
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The Bison football team, which since 1993 played their home games at the Fargodome, was a dominant force in Division II. They won NCAA Division II national titles on eight separate occasions (1965, 1968, 1969, 1983, 1985, 1986, 1988, 1990) before moving up to Division I-AA (now FCS) in 2004. The program was the winningest in the history of the NCAA Division II North Central Conference, with 17 outright championships and 27 total league football titles. The program has also been quite successful since moving up to FCS classification. In 2006 the Bison posted a 10-1 record that included a win over FBS Ball State. During a 2006 game against FBS Minnesota, NDSU led for much of the game, but a last-second field goal attempt was blocked by Minnesota, resulting in a 10-9 loss. The following season, the Bison won their first Great West Football Conference championship and achieved the #1 ranking in major FCS polls for a majority of the season. During this season the 2007 Bison football team defeated FBS members Central Michigan University and the University of Minnesota. In 2010 the Bison defeated the FBS Kansas Jayhawks, 6-3, for their first win over a Big 12 program. The Bison won the 2011 FCS national championship, defeating Sam Houston State University 17-6. The 2011 title was their ninth overall. The Bison returned to the FCS championship game in 2012 and soundly defeated Sam Houston State University in a rematch of the 2011 title game 39-13. Expectations were high entering the 2013 season. The season commenced with a game against the Kansas State Wildcats, the reigning Big 12 Champions. The Bison took a quick lead, but let a 7-7 halftime score get away from them; trailing 21-7 in the third quarter. The Bison finished the game with what some would describe as the best drive in school history: an 18 play 80 yard drive that used 8 1/2 minutes. Leaving just 28 seconds on the clock for the Wildcats, trailing by 3. NDSU intercepted the first pass attempt by the Wildcats, stunning the crowd and cementing their 7th win over FBS teams since their move to FCS. It was probably because of this win that ESPN College GameDay decided to broadcast an episode from Fargo; a great honor for the City and NDSU. The Bison finished the season 15-0 with a victory over the Towson Tigers, 35-7.
The Bison basketball program includes a men's and a women's team. The teams play at the Bison Sports Arena. The women's basketball team was a dominant force in Division II throughout the 1990s. They won five titles during the decade (1991, 1993-1996). The men's basketball team won an upset victory over the University of Wisconsin–Madison on January 21, 2006, potentially increasing its chances of being accepted into a conference. The Bison also upset Marquette University on their home court at their tournament, 64-60, on December 2, 2006. On March 10, 2009 the Bison defeated Oakland 66-64 to win the Summit League Tournament and a bid to the 2009 NCAA Tournament.
The Bison wrestling program had success under coaching legend Bucky Maughan, winning four NCAA Division II team titles (1988, 1998, 2000, 2001). Maughan retired in 2011 after 37 years and his successor is two-time NCAA runner-up Roger Kish. Kish led the 2013-14 NDSU to career highs in rankings and tournament placement since the Bison joined the Division I ranks.
The 2008-2009 season was a banner year for NDSU athletics as the school first became fully eligible for Division I competition. In December 2008 NDSU's women's volleyball team captured the Summit League's regular season and tournament championships (doing so with a perfect league record) to become the first program at the school to earn a berth in a Division I NCAA tournament. The Bison dropped their opening round match to the University of Minnesota.
On February 28, 2009 the Bison men's basketball team captured the Summit League regular season championship, the school's first at the Division I level, by defeating Oral Roberts 75-72 in Tulsa, OK. Two weeks later NDSU earned its first men's basketball NCAA berth by winning the Summit League Tournament played at Sioux Falls, SD. The Bison defeated Centenary 83-77 in the tourney quarterfinals, stopped Southern Utah 79-67 in the semifinals, and edged Oakland 66-64 in the championship game. The Bison traveled to Minneapolis for a first round game with the defending national champions, the Kansas Jayhawks, and fell 84-74. NDSU's tournament appearance marked the first time in almost 35 years that a Division I men's program qualified for the tournament in its first season of eligibility.
In the spring of 2009, the Bison women's softball team won the Summit League tournament in Macomb, Illinois, becoming the school's third team to appear in an NCAA tournament in the calendar year. In its opening game in May, the Bison upset #9 ranked Oklahoma, 1-0, in an 11-inning game that spanned two days due to a weather delay. The Bison would go on to win the regional with victories over Tulsa, 3-2 and 4-1, to advance to the Super Regional (Sweet Sixteen) of the tournament, where they were eliminated.
In the fall of 2010, the Bison women's soccer team achieved the program's first NCAA tournament bid with a victory over Western Illinois in the Summit League tournament final.