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.