Sioux athletes' reactions: ‘Sick to my stomach’Echoing the sentiments of their coaches who spoke before them Friday morning, the team captains of the two highest profile sports at UND voiced their displeasure over the impending retirement of the Fighting Sioux nickname and logo.
By: Tom Miller, Grand Forks Herald
Echoing the sentiments of their coaches who spoke before them Friday morning, the team captains of the two highest profile sports at UND voiced their displeasure over the impending retirement of the Fighting Sioux nickname and logo.
“My first reaction was disbelief and denial,” UND men’s hockey captain Chay Genoway said at a press conference at Hyslop Sports Center. “From there, everything starts to set in. I guess the best way to describe it was that I was sick to my stomach.”
UND football co-captain Ryan Kasowski, a Grand Forks native, said Thursday’s decision was personally a sad day because of his deep ties to UND athletics.
“Like everybody, I was surprised and shocked,” said Kasowski, whose uncle also played football at UND. “… especially being from Grand Forks, growing up here, cheering on the Fighting Sioux and knowing the nickname and knowing how much pride everybody has in it.”
Genoway and Kasowski both spoke to what the Fighting Sioux moniker meant to their respective programs.
Genoway went as far as to give it partial credit for his team’s patented late-season pushes into the NCAA tournament over the past four years.
“In the four years I’ve been here, our team has had to make a decision as to whether we’ll crash and burn or go on a run,” Genoway said. “That all goes back to Sioux pride and the pride (UND coach Dave Hakstol) has in it. It absolutely rubs off on the players. It’s so instilled in our program from a guy like (Hakstol).”
Kasowski said that past players often address the nickname with the team.
“Alumni come back all the time and say how special it was for them to be a Fighting Sioux,” Kasowski said. “We really take pride in it. It’s taught and stressed to us to always carry ourselves at the highest level.”
Genoway said that the pride associated with the nickname and logo shouldn’t disappear regardless of Thursday’s decision by the North Dakota State Board of Higher Education.
“We’re going to make sure Sioux pride and tradition carry on,” Genoway said. “With the guys who are here right now, the tradition has been instilled in them. It’s so important that these guys make sure that everything is passed on. It has to be passed on. It has to continue to be passed on from there. Things can’t be forgotten.
“Things that have been passed on from year to year have to continue whether the logo is there or not. We can never forget the tradition and pride that has come with the Fighting Sioux name. It has to be passed from player to player here on out. The guys in the program right now are so critical to the program during this transition because of that.”
Genoway said he believes the Fighting Sioux tradition will live on, both in the locker room and in the stands.
“I think it’ll still be the ‘land of the free and the home of the Sioux,’” said Genoway, referencing a tradition among some UND fans that change the last line of the Star Spangled Banner before games. “I don’t see it going away very quickly.”
Miller reports on sports. Reach him at (701) 780-1121; (800) 477-6572, ext. 121; or send e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.