It's a big day for one of the Wild's smallest players.
What Jared Spurgeon lacks in physical stature he more than makes up for in what he means to the Wild both on the ice and off. On Saturday, he was rewarded with a brand new contract extension, one that comes in at seven years and $53.025 million.
The average annual value of the deal ($7.575 million per season) makes him the highest paid player on the team and assigns him the kind of financial value that he's consistently brought to the franchise since joining the team as an unlikely free agent in 2010. The deal begins next season and could keep Spurgeon in a Wild sweater through the end of the 2026-27 season.
"I think the group of guys that we have ... and also with [Wild GM] Bill [Guerin], when he came in he talked to me about the vision he has and, like I said before, he's won as a player and in management, and to be in one spot as a player your entire career is a pretty cool thing," Spurgeon said. "Ever since I've been here all I wanted to do is win here, so I'm not sure why you'd want to leave."
A sixth-round pick of the New York Islanders in 2008, Spurgeon was cast aside by the team that drafted him and able to sign with any team in the NHL.
A standout performance as an invitee at Minnesota's development camp in 2010 put him on the club's radar, and the Wild signed him to an entry-level contract on Sept. 23 of that year, shortly after returning from the Traverse City Prospects Tournament, where he led the Wild to a championship.
Had he not earned that contract with the Wild, he would have been off to Austria to continue his pro hockey career. He had no other opportunities to continue his career in the NHL other than in Minnesota.
"It's pretty surreal, especially being with family and talking to [agent] Eustice King. I talked to [Wild owner] Craig [Leipold] a bit and thanked him for the opportunity from the beginning and to be in this position, it's pretty crazy from the first Traverse City camp," Spurgeon said. "I couldn't be more grateful, especially for Bill, it happened pretty quick, I think it was two days and it was done. Family's pretty excited. There's a lot of work left to do, but we got a great group of guys down there, and a leader that's taking us in the right direction."
In the nine years since his debut, Spurgeon has not only become a foundational piece for the Wild, he's made himself one of the finest -- if not most underrated -- players at his position in the NHL.
Spurgeon ranks second in team history among defensemen in games played (591), second in assists (178), points (248) and shots on goal (944). His 70 goals are most and his 26 power-play goals are tied with Brent Burns for first.
Amongst all Wild players, Spurgeon ranks in the top eight in games, assists, points, power-play goals, shots and plus/minus.
He will become just the third player in franchise history to skate in 600 games with Minnesota, doing so as soon as Oct. 22 if he plays in the first nine games this season.
His 96 penalty minutes are the fewest by any NHL defenseman that has played at least 500 NHL games since he entered the League.
"He's earned every bit of it," said Wild coach Bruce Boudreau. "His efforts for three years plus that I've seen him has been extraordinary. So you always like to see the little guy succeed. He might be small in stature, but his heart is so big that I think the Wild are really extremely lucky for seven more years."
That productivity put Spurgeon's new contract atop Guerin's to-do list once he became general manager of the team last month. Within a day or two of taking the job, he was on the phone with King trying to work on a deal.
Then, two days ago, King came to St. Paul to meet with Guerin in person and the two were quickly able to hammer out a deal.
"As for player transactions and things like that, this was the priority," Guerin said. "We're just really happy that we got it done. He's excited about it, we're excited about it, it's a perfect fit. We didn't want him going anywhere."
Spurgeon began the 2010-11 season in the American Hockey League, playing in 23 games with the Houston Aeros.
He was recalled to Minnesota in November and made his NHL debut in his home province of Alberta against the Calgary Flames on his 21st birthday, Nov. 29, 2010.
He hasn't been back to the AHL since.
Mistaken that day by some as the team's new stick boy, Spurgeon has forged a career that has put him among the best defensemen in franchise history. Despite his longevity in the league -- he's entering his 10th season in the NHL -- he won't turn 30 until after Thanksgiving.
The father of four has become a fan favorite because of his stature and his remarkably boyish looks. At 29, he seemingly hasn't aged since first joining the club nearly a decade ago.
He's also a favorite of teammates because of his quality play on the ice and his quiet, confident demeanor off of it.
"I think naturally that's who he is. I think players do know how good he is. I think that maybe goes for the media and the fans that he doesn't get the recognition that he should," said Wild captain Mikko Koivu. "But I think he's OK with it. He should know that his teammates have the respect for him and how he plays the game ... and I know the staff and everyone does. I don't think you're going to find a person that's going to say a bad word about him. That's the way I would describe him."
"For the organization it's important to keep the good people around. He's first class on and off the ice. I think we all know his capability to play the game and what he brings each and every night. The way he battles. The way he overcomes everything like injuries and things like that. Having a quality person like he is, that's the No. 1 thing I think about as a teammate."
Spurgeon is coming off a career-best season in which he scored 14 goals and 29 assists for 43 points -- all three figures representing high-water marks.
He also played in all 82 games for the first time, matched a career high with 20 penalty minutes and even won his first faceoff.
Spurgeon's new deal won't take effect until next season. He'll wrap up a four-year, $20.75 million contract in 2019-20, a contract that has provided the Wild with one of the finest values in the NHL during that span.
His new number makes him the highest paid player (by annual average value) in team history.
"When we talked about it this morning I looked at my wife and just asked her if you'd ever think we'd be here in 10 years," Spurgeon said. "It was pretty cool."
1. SF Roosevelt (24) 2-0 120 1
2. Brandon Valley 1-1 92 4
3. SF O’Gorman 1-1 60 2
4. Harrisburg 2-0 58 RV
5. SF Washington 1-1 17 3
Receiving votes: Sioux Falls Lincoln 11, Rapid City Stevens 2.
1. Pierre (24) 2-0 120 1
2. Brookings 2-0 95 3
3. Yankton 1-1 65 2
4. Mitchell 1-1 39 4
5. Huron 1-1 38 5
Receiving votes: Sturgis 3.
1. Tea Area (21) 2-0 114 1
2. Madison (3) 2-0 97 2
3. SF Christian 2-0 63 3
4. Dakota Valley 1-1 50 4
5. Dell Rapids 2-0 26 RV
Receiving votes: West Central 9, Tri-Valley 1.
1. Bridgewater-Emery/Ethan (19) 3-0 115 1
2. Winner (5) 3-0 99 2
3. Mount Vernon/Plankinton 2-0 66 3
4. Webster Area 3-0 36 T-4
5. St. Thomas More 2-1 33 T-4
Receiving votes: McCook Central/Montrose 10, Groton Area 1.
1. Bon Homme (22) 3-0 117 1
2. Viborg-Hurley (2) 2-0 90 2
3. Baltic 2-0 70 3
4. Parker 3-0 44 4
5. Deuel 2-0 38 5
Receiving votes: Lemmon-McIntosh 1.
1. Sully Buttes (14) 3-0 106 T-1
2. Canistota/Freeman (8) 3-0 103 T-1
3. Britton-Hecla (2) 2-0 71 3
4. Howard 2-0 42 4
5. Kimball/White Lake 3-0 23 5
Receiving votes: Gregory 11, Timber Lake 3, Ipswich/Edmunds Central 1.
1. Colman-Egan (22) 3-0 118 1
2. Dell Rapids St. Mary (2) 3-0 88 4
3. Wolsey-Wessington 2-1 62 3
4. Alcester-Hudson 3-0 35 RV
5. Faulkton Area 1-1 30 2
Receiving votes: Herreid/Selby Area 18, Corsica-Stickney 7, Harding County 2.
T1. Watertown (8) 7-1 76 1
T1. O'Gorman (8) 5-1 76 2
3. S.F. Washington (3) 5-2 63 3
4. Aberdeen Central 4-0 33 5
5. Brandon Valley 5-2 21 4
Receiving Votes: Huron (5-2)10, S.F. Roosevelt (5-3) 4, R.C. Stevens (1-1) 2
1. S.F. Christian (19) 5-1 95 1
2. Miller 2-0 74 2
3. Parker 4-0 53 5
4. Dakota Valley 3-0 30 RV
5. McCook Central-Montrose 5-2 23 3
Receiving Votes: Elk Point-Jefferson (2-1) 5, Hill City (6-0) 2, Beresford (3-0) 1, Madison (2-0) 1
1. Northwestern (18) 8-0 94 1
2. Warner (1) 2-0 73 2
3. Faulkton Area 3-0 47 4
4. Chester Area 2-1 37 3
5. Faith 3-0 26 5
Receiving Votes: Burke (3-0) 7, Kadoka Area (2-0) 1
By Dr. Karissa Niehoff, Executive Director of the National Federation of State High School Associations and Dr. Dan Swartos, Executive Director of the South Dakota High School Activities Association.
Inappropriate adult behavior at high school athletic events across the United States has reached epidemic proportions, and South Dakota is not immune. When more than 2,000 high school athletic directors were asked in a recent national survey what they like least about their job, 62.3% said it was “dealing with aggressive parents and adult fans.”
The men and women who wear the black and white stripes agree. In fact, almost 80% of officials quit after the first two years on the job, and unruly parents are cited as the reason why. As a result, there is a growing shortage of high school officials here in South Dakota, and in some sports, the shortage is severe. No officials means no more games.
If you are a parent attending a high school athletic event this fall, you can help by following these six guidelines:
- Act Your Age. You are, after all, an adult. Act in a way that makes your family and school proud.
- Don’t Live Your Life Vicariously Through Your Children. High school sports are for them, not you. Your family’s reputation is not determined by how well your children perform on the field of play.
- Let Your Children Talk to the Coach Instead of You Doing It for Them. High school athletes learn how to become more confident, independent and capable—but only when their parents don’t jump in and solve their problems for them.
- Stay in Your Own Lane. No coaching or officiating from the sidelines. Your role is to be a responsible, supportive parent—not a coach or official.
- Remember, Participating in a High School Sport Is Not About Getting a College Scholarship. According to the NCAA, only about 2% of all high school athletes are awarded a sports scholarship, and the total value of the scholarship is only about $4,500 per year.
- Make Sure Your Children Know You Love Watching Them Play. Do not critique your child’s performance on the car ride home. Participating in high school sports is about character development, learning and having fun—not winning and losing.
Purchasing a ticket to a high school athletic event does not give you the right to be rude, disrespectful or verbally abusive. Cheer loud and be proud, but be responsible and respectful. The future of high school sports in South Dakota is dependent on you.
SD media prep football poll released Sept. 3rd
1. SF Roosevelt (22) 1-0 114 3
2. SF O’Gorman (1) 1-0 88 2
3. SF Washington 1-0 56 4
4. Brandon Valley 0-1 55 1
5. SF Lincoln 1-0 29 5
Receiving votes: Harrisburg 3.
1. Pierre (23) 1-0 115 1
2. Yankton 1-0 90 2
3. Brookings 1-0 71 3
4. Mitchell 1-0 44 5
5. Huron 0-1 18 4
Receiving votes: Sturgis 4, Douglas 3.
1. Tea Area (22) 1-0 114 1
2. Madison (1) 1-0 91 3
3. SF Christian 1-0 53 4
4. Dakota Valley 0-1 40 2
5. West Central 1-0 32 5
Receiving votes: Dell Rapids 11, Canton 4.
1. Bridgewater-Emery/Ethan (22) 2-0 114 1
2. Winner (1) 2-0 91 3
3. Mount Vernon/Plankinton 1-0 67 4
T-4. St. Thomas More 1-1 26 2
T-4. Webster Area 2-0 26 RV
Receiving votes: Groton Area 15, Sioux Valley 4, McCook Central/Montrose 2.
1. Bon Homme (22) 2-0 113 1
2. Viborg-Hurley (1) 1-0 86 3
3. Baltic 1-0 60 4
4. Parker 2-0 46 5
5. Deuel 1-0 37 RV
Receiving votes: Hamlin 3.
T-1. Sully Buttes (14) 2-0 100 1
T-1. Canistota/Freeman (8) 2-0 100 2
3. Britton-Hecla (1) 1-0 69 3
4. Howard 2-0 49 4
5. Kimball/White Lake 2-0 17 5
Receiving votes: Gregory 8, De Smet 1, Tripp-Delmont/Armour/Andes Central/Dakota Christian 1.
1. Colman-Egan (15) 2-0 104 2
2. Faulkton Area (4) 1-0 81 3
3. Wolsey-Wessington (1) 2-0 67 4
4. Dell Rapids St. Mary (3) 2-0 62 5
5. Colome 1-1 24 1
Receiving votes: Corsica-Stickney 3, Harding County 2, Alcester-Hudson 1, Herreid/Selby Area 1.
SD media prep volleyball poll released Sept. 3rd
1. Watertown (15) 5-0 83 4
2. O'Gorman 4-1 51 3
3. S.F. Washington (2) 4-1 50 1
4. Brandon Valley 4-2 20 RV
5. Aberdeen Central 2-0 19 RV
Receiving Votes: Huron (4-1) 17, R.C. Stevens (1-1) 15
1. S.F. Christian (17) 3-1 85 1
2. Miller 1-0 64 2
3. McCook Central-Montrose 4-1 48 3
4. Elk Point-Jefferson 1-0 29 4
5. Parker 2-0 21 5
Receiving Votes: Dakota Valley (1-0) 6, Winner (1-1) 1, Aberdeen Roncalli (1-1) 1
1. Northwestern (16) 7-0 84 1
2. Warner (1) 0-0 63 2
3. Chester Area 2-0 55 3
4. Faulkton Area 1-0 32 4
5. Faith 1-0 19 5
Receiving Votes: Burke (1-0) 1, Philip (1-0) 1
Northern State University head basketball coach Saul Phillips announced today the completion of his staff with the addition of Taylor Tucker as an assistant coach. Tucker joins the Wolves after two seasons as the assistant at Monmouth College.
“Taylor comes to me highly recommended from an excellent head coach and trusted friend at Monmouth College,” explained Phillips. “His work ethic and dedication to doing things the right way made him a good fit at Northern.”
The Scots won the 2018 conference overall and tournament championships in Tucker’s first season with the program, while also qualifying for the NCAA Championships first round. Prior to his time at Monmouth, Tucker was the assistant coach at Olivet Nazarene in 2016-17.
“I’m excited to get started with everything,” noted Tucker. “Northern has a ton of tradition. I look forward being a part of that tradition and helping continue the many years of success.”
In his three years of collegiate experience, Tucker has coach the CCAC Freshman of the Year and NAIA All-American Nick Reed (ONU) and back-to-back Midwest Conference Players of the Year, Will Carius and Will Jones (MC).
He is a 2016 graduate of Olivet Nazarene University with a bachelor’s degree in Kinesiology and Physical Education. Tucker played three seasons at ONU, making two NAIA National Tournament appearances. The Tigers won the 2015 regular season and tournament conference championships in his junior campaign. Tucker was named an NAIA Academic All-American in both 2015 and 2016. He is currently pursuing a master’s in Kinesiology Pedagogy from the University of Central Missouri.
Tucker resides in Aberdeen with his wife, Maddie.
Presentation College is pleased to announce the hiring of Athletic Director, Steve Gast.
Gast has more than a decade of experience working with the NAIA (National Association of Collegiate Athletics) and GPAC (Great Plains Athletic Conference). His most recent Athletic Director position was at Briar Cliff University, from 2007-2016. After that, he consulted in a support role for the GPAC, assisting in several administrative areas.
Gast believes his time at Briar Cliff made him especially well-suited for the PC Athletic Director position, and is looking forward to another opportunity to integrate a faith-based Mission with athletic programs.
“During almost a decade at BCU, I learned the ‘ins and outs’ of collegiate athletics in a small, Catholic college setting” Gast said. “In particular, the NAIA Champions of Character program provides opportunities to help young people excel while upholding the values of integrity, respect and responsibility. I’m looking forward to seeing how well these values can integrate with the PC Saints.”
Presentation College’s coaching staff this year includes a number of new faces. Gast says he doesn’t see that as a negative; he believes it’s a great opportunity to build a strong coaching team that will shape the future of PC Athletics.
“From my first day on campus, the dedication of these coaches has been very obvious. They clearly care about their programs, and care about their athletes.”
Gast says he looks forward to supporting the staff – “coaching the coaches,” as he describes it.
Vice President for Student Affairs, Bob Schuchardt, says Gast is a great fit for the PC Saints. “Steve has extensive experience not only in the NAIA, but also working with teams across the Midwest. With those connections already in place, he’ll be able to jump right in as volleyball, men’s and women’s soccer, and football get underway this fall.”
So far, Gast says, he’s been impressed by the people of Aberdeen.
“I’m really looking forward to getting out there and meeting Saints fans and Boosters. It’s going to be a busy, but exciting, season.”
Gast will introduce himself at the annual PC Saints Booster Kickoff, planned for 5:30pm on Thursday, August 29th at the AmericInn. The event is free and open to the public.
Gast has a Bachelor of Science in Psychology/Human Factors from the U.S. Air Force Academy, a Master of Science in Public Administration from the University of Southern California, and a Master of Science in Space Operations from the Air force Institute of Technology.
The Northern State University men’s basketball program will host a coaches’ clinic on Sunday, October 13 featuring guest clinician Tim Miles, as well as head men’s coach Saul Phillips. The clinic will run from 12-4 p.m. from the Barnett Center.
Pre-registrations received by October 7 will receive a discount price from the at-the-door rate. Cost for pre-registrations is $50 per coach or $125 per staff with 3-plus attendees. Cost for at the door registration is $60 per coach or $150 per staff with 3-plus attendees.
To register visit nsuwolvesclinic.myonlinecamp.com. Those with questions or looking for more information can contact the Northern State men’s basketball office at 605-626-7805 or can email assistant coach Jared Swanson at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Minnesota Wild have announced the hiring of Bill Guerin to serve as the team’s next general manager and fourth GM overall. Guerin replaces the fired Paul Fenton who was relieved of his duties earlier this summer after just over a year on the job. Guerin was a finalist for the job the last time it was available, but ultimately lost out to Fenton. Guerin has spent the last nine years with the Pittsburgh Penguins organization serving three years in player development and the last five as the assistant general manager. Guerin is a U.S. Hockey Hall of Famer who won two Stanley Cups as a player with the Penguins and played 18 NHL seasons.
Minnesota Timberwolves President of Basketball Operations Gersson Rosas announced the team has signed forward Kelan Martin to a two-way contract. Per team policy, terms of the agreement were not released.
Martin played for the Timberwolves entry in the 2019 MGM Resorts NBA Summer League in Las Vegas, averaging 12.9 points and 6.6 rebounds in 21.9 minutes over seven games. He recorded a double-double with 12 points and 11 rebounds in a win vs. Cleveland on July 5. In the quarterfinals win over Dallas on July 13, Martin scored a game-high 23 points, shooting 8-of-14 from the field, including 5-of-9 from long distance. He tallied a game-high 19 points in the title game vs. Memphis on July 15.
The 6-7 forward played for MHP Reisen Ludwigsburg in Germany last season, averaging 13.7 points and 4.4 rebounds in 27 games. Martin played four seasons at Butler University, averaging 15.1 points and 5.2 rebounds in 136 games. In his senior season in 2017-18, he averaged 21.2 points and 6.3 rebounds and was named First Team All-Big East. He scored 27 points in Butler’s 2018 NCAA Tournament opening-round win over Arkansas and had 29 points in the second-round loss to Purdue. He finished his career as the Bulldogs’ third all-time leading scorer with 2,047 points.
The NBA allows teams to sign two players to two-way contracts in addition to the 15-man regular-season roster. Players signed to a two-way contract can accrue no more than 45 days of service with their respective NBA club during the regular season and will spend the remainder of their time with the team’s NBA G League affiliate.
Minnesota Wild Assistant General Manager Tom Kurvers today announced the National Hockey League (NHL) club has re-signed defenseman Hunter Warner to a one-year, two-way contract ($700,000/$80,000) for the 2019-20 season.
Warner, 23, recorded seven points (1-6=7), 97 penalty minutes (PIM) and a plus-7 rating in 73 games with the Iowa Wild in the American Hockey League (AHL) last season. He ranked second on the team in PIM and fourth in plus/minus rating. The 6-foot-3, 223-pound native of Eden Prairie, Minn., added four points (1-3=4) and a plus-5 rating in 11 Calder Cup contests to rank T-1st amongst team defensemen in scoring and second in plus/minus rating during the playoffs. Warner has collected 18 points (3-15=18) and 181 PIM in 165 career AHL games with Iowa.
Minnesota originally signed Warner to a three-year, entry-level contract on Sept. 23, 2014.
Kaare Vedvik joins the Vikings via trade with the Baltimore Ravens for an undisclosed draft selection. Vedvik spent the 2018 season on the Ravens Non-Football Injury (NFI) list after joining the team as a rookie free agent on May 4, 2018. Vedvik appeared in 38 career games at Marshall, seeing action as both a kicker and punter while earning first-team All-Conference USA as a senior in 2017. Born in Stavanger, Norway, Vedvik attended high school in McPherson, Kansas as an exchange student for his junior year before returning to Norway for his senior year.
The Vikings have waived long snapper Kevin McDermott to make room for the new kicker/punter.
Minnesota Timberwolves President of Basketball Operations Gersson Rosas announced the team has signed rookie guard Jaylen Nowell, who was selected by the Wolves with the 43rd pick in the 2019 NBA Draft on June 20. Per team policy, terms of the agreement were not released.
Nowell, 19, was named the 2018-19 Pac-12 Player of the Year by the coaches after averaging 16.2 points, on 50.2% from the field, 5.3 rebounds and 3.1 assists over his sophomore season at the University of Washington. An All-Pac-12 First Team selection by the coaches and media this past season, the 6-4 guard became the fastest player in Washington history to reach 1,000 career points. Nowell raised his three-point shooting percentage to 44.0%, up from 35.1% in his freshman campaign. The Seattle native was one of 10 finalists for the Jerry West Award, recognizing the nation’s top shooting guard.
Minnesota Wild owner Craig Leipold announced Tuesday he has fired general manager Paul Fenton after just one season on the job. Leipold spoke to the media after the decision and explained his thinking...
Head football coach Steve Heimann tabbed the leader of his defense as he announced the hiring of Jason Glasco to be the next defensive coordinator. Glasco arrives with over eight years of collegiate coaching experience.
"We are very happy to have Coach Glasco join our staff as the newest defensive coordinator," explained Heimann. "Coach Glasco is highly respected within the coaching community and brings championship level experience to our defense. We are all very impressed with the rapport he has with his former players and his desire to mentor and grow young men. He will be a great asset to our program and the Presentation College campus as a whole."
Coach Glasco comes to Presentation after spending the last seven years at Dakota Wesleyan University. He spent his first two seasons as a graduate assistant before being named an assistant coach. He was also the recruiting coordinator and special teams coordinator – in which he coached the No. 3 nationally ranked punt return unit back in 2016. Notably, Coach Glasco has coached 21 All-GPAC linebackers, two All-American linebackers, and an All-American punter.
Before working at DWU, Coach Glasco spent a season as an assistant coach at the University of Sioux Falls. While with the Cougars, he worked with the team's defensive backs.
Collegiately, Coach Glasco joined the coaching ranks after a successful playing career at Sioux Falls. Coach Glasco was a three-year starter at safety for the Cougars and was a two-time All-GPAC Honorable Mention pick and earned All-GPAC First-Team and All-America Honorable Mention honors. Glasco, who graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in exercise science in 2007, played for the Cougars from 2003 to 2006 and was a part of the 2006 national championship team.
"I would first like to thank the administrative team and Vice President of Student Affairs Bob Schuchardt, as well as head coach Steve Heimann for giving me this opportunity," stated Glasco. "I am extremely excited for the opportunity to be the defensive coordinator here at Presentation College and being a part of the Saint family and the Aberdeen community. I am grateful for the opportunity to continue to influence the lives of young men in a positive way – both on and off the football field. I cannot wait to get started and meet all of the great people here at Presentation College and the community."
Glasco grew up in Sioux Falls, S.D., and attended Sioux Falls Roosevelt High School. He received his master's degree in educational policy and administration from Dakota Wesleyan in 2012.
Presentation head men’s basketball coach Jeremy Reigel has announced he has resigned his position at PC and has accepted the head men’s basketball job at Rockford University. Rockford University is a Division II school located in Rockford Illinois with a student population of about 1,300 students. Reigel had been at PC for nine seasons. He leaves the Saints, the winngest coach in program history, was named NSAA coach of the year for the 2018-19 season and won the most game in a single season in school history with 21 last season.
The NSU men have done it again. The NCAA has released the Men’s Basketball Attendance Records following the 2018-19 season, with the Wolves leading NCAA Division II in attendance for the 12th consecutive year and 13th overall. An average of 3,680 fans poured into Wachs Arena to watch the Northern State men, with 51,526 total fans over the course of the season.
"The rich tradition of basketball at Northern State is second to none,” noted NSU Director of Athletics Josh Moon. “The women’s announcement a few weeks ago, and the men’s today continues to build on this tradition. For NSU to also lead all Colleges/Universities in the Dakota's in attendance shows the passion of this community for Wolves basketball. The back-to-back NSIC Conference Champion men will only build off this in the future, as a new era of Northern State basketball opens this fall under Saul Phillips.”
The Wolves sat high above the competition, bringing in over 1,350 fans per game more than Dixie State. Northern was the only program at the Division II level to record over 40,000 fans. The Wolves 72-70 win over Minnesota Duluth on February 15 was the fourth highest attended game in 2019 with 5,318 Wolves faithful.
In addition, NSU led the NSIC by over 1,400 fans per game, ahead of fourth ranked Augustana with 2,231. The NSIC came in second behind the MIAA, averaging 1,050 fans per game due in large part to the numbers produced by Northern State.
Over the course of the last 12 seasons, 647,435 fans have watched the Wolves from Wachs Arena, averaging nearly 3,500 fans per contest. Those fans have seen numerous Wolves wins, multiple conference championships, and historic moments.
Saul Phillips, head men’s basketball coach at Northern State University, announced today the hiring of Jared Swanson as the team’s top assistant coach. Swanson is no stranger to the Phillips system as a member of his staffs at both North Dakota State and Ohio.
“I’m extremely excited to add Jared to my staff,” said Phillips. “His experience level and familiarity with how I coach makes him a perfect fit. His extensive ties with Minnesota and the Dakotas will benefit us greatly from a recruiting standpoint.”
In ten years at the Division I level, Swanson has mentored/developed 21 All-Conference award-winning student-athletes, including five all-first team honorees, three freshman of the year, and one conference player of the year.
“My family and I are extremely excited to be returning to the Midwest and for this opportunity to become a part of Northern State University,” noted Swanson. “The tradition of the basketball program is second to none, and I cannot wait to get started working with our student-athletes. I believe in the vision that Coach Phillips has in maintaining the high standards set here, both on and off the court.”
Swanson most recently spent that last five seasons at Ohio University as an Assistant Coach (2017-19), and prior to that as the Director of Men’s Basketball Operations (2014-17). In 2015-16, the Bobcats produced the second biggest turnaround in program history, going 23-12 overall with a trip to the CBI semifinals.
Prior to his time at OU, Swanson spent one season at San Jose State and two seasons at North Dakota State as the Director of Men’s Basketball Operations. The Bison went 41-24 in his two seasons, earning a berth into the College Basketball Invitational each year.
Swanson began his collegiate coaching career as a graduate assistant at Boise State University. The Broncos went 22-13 overall and advanced to the semifinal round of the CBI. From 2008-10, Swanson spent time as an assistant coach at Heritage High School in Vancouver, Washington and as the head coach at Payson High School in Payson, Arizona. Before starting his coaching career, Swanson played four seasons of professional basketball in Australia, garnering two League-MVP awards, while leading the league in scoring two years.
He is a 2003 graduate of Concordia College with a bachelor’s degree in Social Studies Education, and 2011 graduate of Idaho State University with a master’s degree in Physical Education in Athletic Administration. Swanson played collegiately at Fergus Falls Community College where he was an all-state and all-region selection, as well as the 2000 Fergus Falls Student-Athlete of the Year. Swanson moved on to the University of North Dakota and then to Concordia College. He closed out his college career as a MIAC first team selection for the Cobbers.
Jared and his wife, Jessica, have two sons, Jett and Nash, and one daughter, Luna.
South Dakota Athletic Director David Herbster has announced a five-year contract with head football coach Bob Nielson. The announcement follows another milestone year for Nielson, who surpassed 200 collegiate victories last season.
"Bob is a proven leader who has laid a solid foundation for our program as we build a championship culture," said Herbster. "I look forward to watching his teams push forward throughout these facility enhancements and beyond."
When Nielson took the Coyotes to the postseason in 2017, it marked the fifth consecutive program that has reached the playoffs within four years of Nielson taking the helm. South Dakota won its FCS playoff debut and reached the final 16. The team is 16-19 in three seasons under Nielson after combining for 12 wins in the four seasons prior.
"I'm excited to be a part of the future of Coyote football," said Nielson. "The University of South Dakota is a great place. It is making a strong commitment to Division I football, and I'm thankful for the opportunity to lead our team to the next level."
Nielson is a three-time national coach of the year recipient, a two-time national champion head coach, and was Missouri Valley Football Conference Coach of the Year in 2016. The 2019 campaign will be his 27th as a head coach. He needed fewer than 300 games to reach 200 wins and stands with a 202-99-1 career record.
Nielson grew up in Marion, Iowa, and received his bachelor's degree from Wartburg College in Waverly, Iowa, where he began his coaching career. He was a head coach at Ripon (1989-90), Wartburg (1991-95), UW-Eau Claire (1996-98), Minnesota Duluth (1999-2003, 2008-12), and Western Illinois (2013-15) before arriving in Vermillion. He won Division II national championships with Minnesota Duluth in 2008 and 2010 with undefeated records of 15-0.
Nielson and his wife, Terri, have two daughters, Amanda Taylor and Kasey King, and a son, Kyle. He holds a master's degree from UNI. Nielson is a member of the Minnesota Duluth and Linn-Mar High School Athletic Hall of Fames.
Head football coach Steve Heimann is pleased to announce William Sonnemaker as the newest member of the PC football staff. Sonnemaker will take over as the offensive line coach for the Saints football program starting this fall.
"We are very excited to have Coach Sonnemaker join our program as he brings a high level of energy and passion that was felt immediately by the entire program," stated Heimann. "Having coached at the collegiate, high school, and professional levels, he is an exceptional coach with a very strong resume that will continue to grow the PC football program."
Most recently, Coach Sonnemaker served as the offensive line coach for the Omaha Beef of the Champions Indoor Football (CIF) League, where they produced 1,365 yards rushing this past season.
Prior to coaching in the CIF, Coach Sonnemaker was the defensive coordinator for Holyoke High School in Holyoke, Colorado. He also assumed the roles of offensive and defensive line coach and offensive and run game coordinator for Gateway High School in Aurora, Colorado. Furthermore, Sonnemaker started his collegiate coaching resume at his alma mater, Midland Lutheran College (now Midland University), as the defensive line coach and box coordinator.
Collegiately, Sonnemaker was a four-year starter for Midland before playing professionally indoors for six years. Notably, Sonnemaker was a three-time CIF champion with the Sioux City Bandits and the Omaha Beef.
"I am very excited to be here and hopefully bring a new refreshing view to Presentation College and the football program," explained Sonnemaker. "I believe this place is something special and has a lot of opportunity to give student-athletes a chance to not only further their playing career after high school but more importantly their education. I am proud to become a part of the Saints family. I would like to thank Vice President for Student Affairs, Bob Schuchardt, and head coach Steve Heimann for giving me this opportunity. Last but not least, I'd like to give a giant thank you to my family, friends, and Samantha Holechek for supporting me on this journey of being a college coach."
Sonnemaker graduated from Midland Lutheran College with a Bachelor's degree in Business Administration. He continued his education at Bellevue University where he graduated with a Master's degree in Organizational Leadership.
Coach Sonnemaker currently resides in Aberdeen.
Former Presentation College head women’s basketball coach Eric Nelson has accepted the women’s head coaching job at fellow NSAA school Dickinson State. Nelson coached six seasons at Presentation College, compiling a record of 51-113 during that time. Nelson told media outlets he was forced out at Presentation College when he was let go.
South Dakota men's basketball head coach Todd Lee is pleased to announce the final addition to the 2019-20 squad with 6-8 forward Tasos Kamateros.
Hailing from Athens, Greece, Kamateros joins the Coyotes after averaging 15.7 points and 7.8 rebounds for A.E.O Proteas Voulas in the A Eskana League in Greece. He shot 58 percent from the field while connecting on 41 percent of his 3-point field goals attempts.
He played in the 2018 FIBA European Championship for Greece, seeing action in five games and hitting 50 percent of his field goal attempts.
Kamateros recently spent time in training camp with the U20 national team in preparation for the U20 FIBA European Championship.
The addition of Kamateros brings the 2019-20 class to seven student-athletes. Junior college transfer Ty Chisom along with true freshmen Kruz Perrott-Hunt and Hunter Goodrick are immediately eligible while A.J. Plitzuweit, Kanon Koster and Brady Heiman will sit the season due to NCAA transfer rules.
One time Minnesota Wild and longtime NHL great Matt Cullen announced his retirement from the league Wednesday at the age of 42. Cullen played 21 seasons in the NHL, originally drafted 35th overall by the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim in the 1996 NHL draft. A Virginia Minnesota native, Cullen graduated from Moorhead high school playing hockey and accepted a scholarship to play at St. Cloud State University. In the NHL he would play for the Ducks, Florida Panthers, Carolina Hurricanes, New York Rangers, Ottawa Senators, Minnesota Wild, Nashville Predators and Pittsburgh Penguins. He won three Stanley Cups in his career including in 2006, 2016 and 2017. He wraps up his career with 1516 games played, 266 goals scored and 731 points collected.
12-year NHL veteran and former University of North Dakota hockey great Greg Johnson has passed away at the age of 48. Johnson died Monday according to the Chronicle Journal in Thunder Bay Ontario, his hometown, but no cause of death was given. Johnson was a three time Hobey Baker award finalist and remains North Dakota’s all time leading scorer with 272 points, 74 goals and 198 assists, in 155 games with the then Fighting Sioux. He was drafted by the Philadelphia Flyers in the second round of the 1989 NHL draft.