Bison Football

Today the name North Dakota means football – thanks to the North Dakota State University Bison, the dominant team in the National Collegiate Athletic Association’s Division II.

Bison Football: Three Decades of Excellence chronicles the NDSU Bison’s remarkable rise from the bottom of the standings to the upper echelon of Midwestern college football history.

Follow the Herd through 30 historic seasons! Sportswriter Ed Kolpack traces the Bison program from its rebirth in 1962 until today. Here’s every triumph – the magic of the veer offense, championship seasons and postseason bowl games, all-American honors and the dynamic support of the NDSU Team Maker Club.

Bison Football is a story of athletic talent and expert guidance, hard work and brilliant strategy. Kolpack invites players, coaches and fans to reflect on the glory days and occasional missteps in their own words. They reminisce about their days together and share lifetime memories with every Bison fan.

Together, their comments…plus Kolpack’s expert eye-witness reporting…paint a vivid portrait of the NDSU Bison tradition, from great expectations thirty years ago to its victories in the ’90’s.

4 Stars

A very informative book about the glory days of NDSU football in the small college and Division II ranks (before the transition to D-I FCS). Every game from 1964 to 1991 is reported on with scores and highlights. There are player, coach and athletic director interviews. There is a list of team and individual records at the end as well as an index of personnel.

While each year is a chapter, and the chapters run sequentially, and each game is reported on sequentially, the structure of the reported game is odd. It almost always starts out with the final score, then gives some highlights about major plays, finally finishing with how the game started off. As an occasional format I can see it as a useful way to mix things up and keep the reader interested. But as the standard it was a little annoying. There were also a couple of times where off field incidents were reported all under one chapter, even though those incidents may have happened years later (ie. Bob Entzion’s arrest in 1990 and a response to the media from 1991 are both under 1987 when discussing his hiring).

It was nice seeing what the foundation of all the history and tradition was. I attended NDSU beginning in 1990, and was familiar the team’s of the late 80’s. And I saw the banners hanging up with the championships from the ’60’s, but I hadn’t really familiarized myself with things from that time.

Some of the famous competitors the Bison faced included Jan Stenerud, Ron Jaworski, Ronald Moore and Ken O’Brien. Among the famous personnel for NDSU were coaches Darrell Mudra (Montreal Alouettes head coach), Ron Erhardt (New England Patriots head coach), and players Steve Nelson (New England Patriots All-Pro linebacker), Jeff Bentrim (Harlon Hill Award winner and broke Walter Payton’s TD record), Stacy Robinson (2 Superbowl rings as a receiver for the NY Giants), Tyrone Braxton (played in 4 Superbowls, winning 2 with the Denver Broncos), Phil Hanson (played in 3 Superbowls with the Buffalo Bills), Chris Simdorn (Harlon HIll award winner) and Casey “Gus” Bradley (Jacksonville Jaguars head coach).

The book was formatted well with no obvious spelling or grammar errors.

On Youtube you can find videos of some of these old games. Including a couple of compilations NDSU Bison Football: A Century of Tradition, and When They Were Kings The NDSU-UND Rivalry