The Magical Bison Culture

For the longest time, there has been something special about North Dakota State. It is a feeling, something that is hard to describe. It is the thing that has led NDSU athletics to extraordinary heights in the last 10 years, and even before. From the football championships to the March Madness appearances, from softball’s dominance to track’s reign over the Summit League.

That thing is Bison culture. After the win over Iowa, football head coach Chris Klieman said, “You can describe Bison culture 1,000 different ways by 1,000 different alums.”

But what is Bison culture? What is its essence?

The question by nature has no one right answer. But similarities are shared.

One of the biggest components of Bison culture is hard work. After almost every single sporting event on campus, players and coaches ring a similar bell. Klieman seems to always open his postgame interviews with the same line, “What can you say about those guys in the locker room?”

He says that with good intention. Across every single Bison team, there is a determination to win.

Quarterback Easton Stick said that the Bison are “tough, (and) blue collar. We wanted to go down and get the win,” after the Bison went down to Iowa City to beat the Hawkeyes.

Bison culture is also the end goals of the hard work. Ask almost any student athlete about their goals for the season, the most common answer is “to win the conference.”

Even after a big win, especially one against a non-conference opponent, the focus is always on the end goals. When asked about where the win over Iowa ranked, Stick said “This a huge game and huge for our program. But at the end of the day, it is not the goal.”

Running back King Frazier came back and agreed with his quarterback, “The goal is the trophy at the end of the year.”

The final key component to Bison culture is what happens after the final whistle. There is a mix of pride and humbleness after every game.

Take the scenes at Kinnick Stadium. Every single player was jumping around, running toward the green corner of the stadium to celebrate with the fans. That celebration though did not lead to players claiming they were the best. Instead, when the Bison take the field on Saturday, you can expect that they will look to better themselves from the last game.

“We got to prepare, get ready for that and hope we get an opportunity down the stretch to win,” said Easton Stick, who was already looking ahead just minutes after defeating Iowa.

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