One of the cool smart phone apps that many Bison fans took a liking to during the FCS national title game in Frisco, Texas was the “Bison Tracker,” which took advantage of the GPS function in the phones and located every Bison fan who downloaded the app. Well, many did, and it showed a wave of people traveling from the Midwest to the Dallas area. It seems Wichita State has the Tracker App bug.
It’s alumni association called NDSU about three weeks ago and wanted to use it for the Missouri Valley Conference basketball tournament. The developer of the app, Tim Brookins, said sure. “We decided this was an important step in our business plan to get other institutions to use the app and provide feedback,” he told the NDSU Alumni Association. “After securing a limited use legal agreement, I am pleased to share that the Shocker Nation apps launched yesterday for android and iPhone.”
Wichita State is now watching their fans migrate and check in for their tourney in St. Louis – as of this morning there were more than 1600 users. It is also being picked up on the Wichita news and Facebook pages. Here are a few of the media links:
Here is the list of applicants for the head women’s basketball coach opening at North Dakota State, which will be available after the season. As usual, it includes some head-scratching resumes that have about as much chance as I do. The university only furnished the name (not sure why but I’m not going to fight every battle and this is one we’ll leave for now), so there are bound to be inaccuracies with a coach’s latest position per web search. The one familiar name is former Bison player Jill DeVries, who resigned as the head coach at Valley City State last year and is working as Ultimate Hoops Trainer at Lifetime Fitness in Minneapolis. There were five applicants that through a short web search I couldn’t identify as a potential candidate, so they were left out. At least there doesn’t appear to be anybody who went by #chuckthepigskin in his applying for the head football coach at UND.
Daniel Johnson, coach, Lake Worth Christian High, Fla.
Lee Loy, former HC, High Point University
Kevin Lynum, assistant coach, Warner University
Chad Killinger, assistant coach, Marshall
Taj Franklin-McWilliams, assistant, New York Liberty
Chris Chougaz, coach in Greece
Kaylord Saunders Jr., coach, Minneapolis Public Schools
Ken Flickinger, HC, Westminster High, Ill.
James Pappas, assistant, Concordia University, Wis.
Keith Ferguson, assistant, Louisiana-Monroe
Paul Haney, assistant, Cecil College
Kip Jones, assistant, IPFW
Jody Craig, HC, Foothill College, Calif.
Kristen Holt, assistant, Texas-San Antonio
Kody Ketterling, HC, Filer HS, Idaho
MollyAnne Light, HC, Camden County College, N.J.
Mark Kost, assisstant, Morehead State, Ky.
Tammy Bagby, Women’s American Basketball Association director
Thomas Flahive, assistant, Saint Peters College, N.J.
Daryle Tucker, HC, Green Mountain College
Justin Hager, HC, Cibola High, Ariz.
Sheronda Powell, assistant, Three Rivers College, Mo.
This weekend is probably the last home game for a crew of seniors on the NDSU men’s basketball team. It’s possible if the Bison lose in the Summit tourney they could host an N.I.T. game but that’s a scenario nobody on the team really cares to think about. One of those seniors is center Marshall Bjorklund. Here’s an interesting tidbit from talking with those involved in his career for a story in Thursday’s newspaper:
Bjorklund, a farm kid from Arlington, Minn., played only one summer of AAU ball in high school, mainly because work on the 2,400-acre corn or soybean and livestock operation was needed. Once at NDSU, however, former Bison standout Andre Smith worked out with Bison players — especially Bjorklund — one summer. Smith is a veteran overseas professional. “He was by no means nice to us,” Bjorklund said of the workouts and scrimmage games. “He was going to let us have it. But he kept us energized and he taught me a few things that have translated over to this season. We have a similar style of play and that helped.”
Head coach Saul Phillips compared it to last summer when Ben Woodside, currently playing in Italy, worked out with Bison guard Taylor Braun. “His biggest growth came the summer Andre Smith came back,” Phillips said. “Andre has nothing in common with Marshall except that they’re both extremely gifted with ball fakes, balance and finishing in the low post. Andre had his moments with Marshall and it really paid huge dividends.”
Bjorklund isn’t sure of his pro potential, saying he first needs to take care of a few injuries after the season before he gives that a thought. In the last couple of years, he’s had a broken nose, chipped tooth and knee and shoulder problems. “I’ll have some opportunity if I want to,” he said. “We’ll see how it plays out.”
Now that the direction of the Bison women’s program has been established, there’s no reason to wait until the end of the season to speculate on the next coach. To me, it’s an easy philosophical question: who out there would best fit to match up to South Dakota State?
The Jacks are the benchmark and NDSU is so far behind them that’s it’s almost frightening. SDSU has won 18 of the last 19 meetings between the teams; 18 of 19 — that’s like NDSU over Morningside back in the NCC football days. So, if you can’t beat them, then take from them. Look at the SDSU assistant coaches, such as Mike Jewett. He’s been a head coach at two other schools for a total of seven years, including four at Southwest Minnesota State. He has a career winning record of 110-85 as the head coach. He was an assistant at St. Cloud State when the Huskies reached the Elite two straight years in 2005 and 2006. I would guess he knows the Upper Midwest recruiting footprint, an area the Bison have not done well in recent years.
I’ve heard Kelly Roysland’s name, although I don’t think she has enough experience. She’s an assistant with Minnesota, a program that is also currently struggling. There are folks who want to bring Amy Ruley back. I don’t think that’s the way to go. Her legacy is assured in NDSU history and not sure why she would want to risk that — or go through what could be a tough couple of years unless the program hits on some instant-success recruits, which at this point considering schools are now mostly recruiting high school juniors is doubtful. NDSU it would appear is way behind there.
This is a good job. It’s well funded, a new arena is coming and, although getting to be a long time time ago, there still is history of success. It’s going to take somebody who is willing to take the patience route and get back to what once made this program great: recruit well in Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota for the core of your team and find athletes who don’t take no for an answer and play a team game that is fun to watch. In other words, find the kids that South Dakota State is recruiting.
Here is the document from last spring per the contract of Carolyn DeHoff. Nothing new here from The Forum story today, other than it perhaps suggests in letter form that the head coach probably needed a successful season this year to warrant another contract. The reference to the 2014-15 “contract” is in reference to a stipulation in her current deal that if the situation was not addressed prior to April 15, 2013, a one-year automatic renewal would go into effect. This “non-renewal letter” simply says there will be no deal at present time for 2014-15. Not sure what to make of the head coach not signing it, at least this copy.
The not-so-surprising end came Thursday when Carolyn DeHoff announced her resignation at the conclusion of the season. The numbers are really all you need to know: a 72-101 mark in six seasons and, most important, 27-59 in the last three years, which shows progress wasn’t being made. The happenings on Thursday also brought to light a couple of issues surrounding the job as head coach: a unique stipulation in her contract and the impact of social media that both DeHoff and athletic director Lynn Dorn said had on the players.
First, the contract: In the amendment signed in 2009, it was stipulated that “If the University fails to notify Coach in writing by April 15, 2013, that the Agreement will be extended, renewed or terminated upon the expiration of the term, the Agreement will automatically extend for one Additional year until April 15, 2015.” It’s a clause by DeHoff’s lawyer from a firm in Minneapolis that Dorn said she had never seen in all her years of being an administrator. It causes athletic directors to be on their toes because if they blow it off, boom, an automatic one more year for the head coach. Dorn notified DeHoff before April 15 with a “letter of non-renewal.” DeHoff was not fired by it but “was operating under the non-renewal conditions of the contract,” Dorn said. In other words, make progress or that’s it.
“Administration must be atune to the evaluation process,” Dorn said. “They must be atune to the status of the program otherwise you can find yourself in an extension without any intention.” The Forum asked about the contract stipulation Thursday morning and put in an open record’s request for the document in the afternoon, but had yet to receive it. The press conference came later in the afternoon … this is not to say the request had anything to do with the timing of the announcement. It appears to be a coincidence.
Coincidence because DeHoff pointed to social media as the reason for announcing her decision on Thursday — rather than waiting until after the season I suppose. I’ve been in this business since the 80s and this is a first; citing avenues like Facebook and Twitter and the effect of the comments on players as a reason to call it a Bison career right now. “Social media has really grown and is quite a learning lesson for coaches on how to educate student-athletes,” DeHoff said. “I think kids are unjustly beat up from social media and I have to take that off them because that’s on me.”
It’s difficult to verify this because we haven’t seen any samples of these social media comments. It’s surprising in the sense that interest, and attendance, in the program is at its lowest levels since probably the late 70s or early 80s. I’m on Twitter all the time and don’t recall any specific instance of a women’s basketball tweet toward a player and with the low interest in the program, there were hardly any tweets at all. I’m sure comments can get harsh, believe me, I’ve been the recipient of them since the 80s. Only instead of people phoning anonymously, they email anonymously. As to which I say: that’s fine, part of life in a public job. There is perhaps no resolution for the athletes other than kids, players, need to learn to ignore them. Don’t have a Twitter account. Stay off Facebook. It’s an interesting topic that will need to be further addressed by college administrators and coaches across the country.
Still, the bottom line in Division I athletics is winning. That ultimately led to Thursday’s announcement.
It’s been three straight games now where the NDSU men have not been at their best men’s basketball flow. The 66-60 win over an under-talented IUPUI team was disturbing in that the Bison had them down and ready for the 10 count in the second half, yet the Jaguars got back in the game. NDSU was up by 14 points with 13 minutes left, yet couldn’t finish the deal. Good teams don’t do that.
First place teams don’t go 8 of 15 from the free throw line or shoot 0 of 10 from 3-point range anywhere, much less at home. The Bison were outrebounded 32-28 against a team that wasn’t real athletic inside. Yet, NDSU prevailed when it wasn’t at its best.
Good teams do that.
The Bison shot 52 percent and committed only five turnovers — they found a way to win. They outscored IUPUI 52-12 in the paint. I would, for now, file this three-game stretch into one of those weeks that every team goes through. They won two of those three and are tied for first in the Summit. NDSU’s best player, Taylor Braun, battled an infection and looks noticeably slimmer. He’s got the rest of February to get that strength back.
Things brings us to Saturday against IPFW. I think this is a swing game in terms of how NDSU is playing. Three average games can be a hiccup. Four, including two straight at home, can be a trend. The Mastodon game is for first place in the Summit standings, but in the bigger picture for NDSU, it’s bigger than that.
The Forum’s Eric Peterson asked Dane Brugler his impressions on former North Dakota State offensive tackle Billy Turner from Senior Bowl practice in Mobile, Ala. Brugler is the senior draft analyst for CBS Sports and NFLDraftScout.com. He’s covered four Senior Bowls.
Q: How much has Turner raised his stock (if any) during the course of practice this week? Turner definitely helped himself this week because he showed he could hang with the big boys. The only reason someone knew he was from the FCS-ranks is his NDSU helmet, certainly not by his play. He had some hiccups, but ultimately he performed well in front of the hundreds of NFL scouts and coaches in attendance for practices this week.
What has impressed you the most about Turner this week? I scouted Turner on film and got to see him in person at the FCS Championship Game, so I knew what to expect. He looked quick and strong with a nasty punch. In terms of physicality, it’s usually easy to spot the “small school” kids, but Turner was very aggressive and didn’t hold back this week. He didn’t look out of place.
Do you see him playing guard or tackle in the NFL? Turner lined up at both guard and tackle in practice on Monday but when Tennessee OT Ja’Wuan James was injured, he was forced to stay at right tackle the rest of the week because of depth issues. He was exposed a few times on the edges against a few speed rushers, but did enough at tackle to show he can stay there if needed. However, I think his best NFL position will be inside where he can dominate in a phone booth, but also pull and show off his mobility when needed.
What are things he still needs to work on to be a solid NFL player? The big issue is his ability to sink his hips and stay balanced at the point of attack to better hold his ground. He relied on his natural strength and size in college to dominate his man, but at the NFL level, he will need to utilize leverage and play more mechanically-sound.
What have been the most common criticisms of Turner this week? Playing too high and struggling to properly sink his lower body and bend at the knees. He needs some technique work and once he gets into a NFL camp, he’ll be able to learn quick.
At this point, where do you think he could get drafted? What is the range? I think he’s on the cusp of the 2nd-3rd round. Scouts really like him and this isn’t a strong offensive line class so he should be on several teams’ radar in the top-60 picks.
The Media Blog needs to cover the LPGA debut for Amy Anderson, in my opinion. The NDSU graduate will make her tour debut this week at the Pure Silk Bahamas LPGA Classic at the Ocean Club golf course in Paradise Island, Bahamas.
She earned her tour card in her first try at the LPGA Qualifying School with the third and final stage in December. The 108-player field for the Pure Silk tournament includes 11 major championship winners with the $1.3 million purse having a winner’s share of $195,000. The Golf Channel will show 10 hours of live coverage starting Thursday and Friday from 10:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 2-4 p.m.
Paradise Island is located almost 200 miles southeast of Miami. Guessing the weather is a bit better there than at her home course of Oxbow Country Club this week.