Before North Dakota State assembled its women’s basketball excellence of the 1980s and ’90s, there was a pioneer like Collette Folstad. She was the program’s first-ever coach from 1966-70. NDSU played a combined 31 games in those four years, or pretty much the equivalent of one full season today. The first year in ’66-67 consisted of all of two games. Anyway, Collette has been a central figure in helping the advancement of women’s athletics over the years and local PGA golf professional Lisa Schwinden wanted to do some sort of recognition of Collette’s 80th birthday. So she organized a birthday party this Friday, Sept. 14, from 5:30-8 p.m. at the Doubletree Hotel in West Fargo.
If you go, don’t forget to ask Collette about the Ayr girls basketball dynasty. Her mother played on teams that eventually became the Ayr juggernaut that won 109 in a row from 1938-43. You can find that chapter in my “North Dakota Tough” book that will hopefully be out Oct. 1. The Rifles not only won 109 straight, they absolutely killed every team they played. The unfortunate angle: there was no such thing as college women’s basketball in those days so instead of getting college scholarships, most of those girls went back to the farm to work. Thankfully, with the help of Collette, times have changed over the years. In lieu of gifts, Lisa asks to consider a donation to The Folstad Family Scholarship at the NDSU Development Foundation.