UND nickname: Sioux fans down south get their sayThe Sioux Boosters group leader from Fargo says the North Dakota Board of Higher Education acted too hastily to retire the Fighting Sioux nickname and logo. “We were all in kind of a state of shock,” Todd Seguin said.
By: Kerry Collins, The Forum
FARGO — The Fargo Sioux Boosters luncheon on Tuesday featured one of the biggest crowds in recent memory, and it wasn’t just to find out where UND games will be played on the radio next year.
With the North Dakota Board of Higher Education retiring the Fighting Sioux nickname and logo last week, Fighting Sioux supporters from Fargo were out in force on Tuesday.
“I think everybody was surprised that it happened so suddenly,” said Todd Seguin, president of the Fargo Sioux Boosters. “We were all in kind of a state of shock.”
The initial rage that most fans felt over the change had subsided on Tuesday — for the most part.
Dave Hakstol, UND’s men’s hockey coach, was one of four coaches to speak at the luncheon, and wrapped up his remarks with a comment on the importance of moving forward without forgetting what got Fighting Sioux athletics this far.
“We’ve all had the privilege, in some way, shape or form, to be involved with or growing up in the spirit of Fighting Sioux,” Hakstol said. “A year from now, we won’t have the chance to have that symbol anymore.
“But we are going to continue that intense sense of dedication, that sense of doing things right, and that ultimate sense of team will still be instilled in all of our programs.
“People will be struggling to deal with it in their own personal way,” he continued. “But we have a good understanding of what we are and what we’re about. That’s what we’re going to carry forward, and will honor to be Fighting Sioux.”
While Hakstol understands that the State Board of Higher Education has made its decision to retire the Fighting Sioux nickname, he remains steadfastly supportive of the name and logo.
Seguin said the biggest concern among Sioux fans was with the haste the Higher Board of Education acted when faced with a Nov. 30 deadline.
He said he would’ve liked to have seen the Standing Rock tribe take a stance on it, or get time to figure out their stance.
“If the tribe would’ve voted no, then most of us would’ve been, ‘OK. We accept that, and now we’ll have to move on,’” Seguin said. “Now what’s going to happen if they go through with the vote and vote yes? We don’t know.
“It’s a lot of dust up that could’ve been averted if it would’ve just played out until November.”
UND athletic director Brian Faison said he couldn’t have agreed with Hakstol more, but knows that people are going to get sentimental when it comes to an 80-year-old tradition.
“Dave really summed it up as well as anyone could,” Faison said. “It’s OK to be upset, but at the end of the day, his hockey team will be playing in October, and people will be out there to support them.
“People are upset, and that’s understandable because people are going to be emotional over an 80-year tradition. But I think most people see the value in supporting a strong athletic program.”
Seguin said there will obviously always be fans of UND, and even though people might be upset about the change, he’s sure they will stick with their teams.
“You have people saying that they’re going to stop setting foot in the Ralph (Engelstad Arena) if they change the name, but that’s not something that I see happening,” Seguin said. “It’s just hard because it’s a long tradition.
“Even though they said they’re going to have to change the nickname, I think you’re going to still see people wearing Fighting Sioux stuff for a long time.”
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