Miller has been with the Grand Forks Herald sports department for the past 10 years. He's also a Grand Forks native and UND graduate.
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The UND football program has landed another FBS matchup. The Fighting Hawks will play Utah State in 2021, according to FBSchedules.com. Utah State will host UND at Maverik Stadium in Logan on Sept. 11. The online report, gathered through an open records request at Utah State, says UND will net $400,000 for the game. Utah State competes in the Mountain West Conference. The Aggies were 3-9 overall and 1-7 in the Mountain West a year ago. Utah State played Big Sky Conference member Weber State to open the 2016 season. The Aggies beat the Wildcats 45-6.
The UND athletic department needs to cut its budget this week. UND President Mark Kennedy has asked to snip $1.3 million. More than likely that means the demise of at least one athletic program. As we saw with the cut of baseball last spring, no one likes to see coaches lose their jobs and young players lose opportunities. But as the athletic department reshapes its future, it should do so by reimagining priorities—specifically in supporting men's basketball the way a Division I school needs.
UND 7-footer Carson Shanks plans to graduate this spring and intends to transfer to another Division I school to play his senior season. Shanks, of Prior Lake, Minn., will be eligible immediately as a graduate transfer. Shanks played in 31 games, starting two, for the Fighting Hawks last season. He averaged 5.3 points and 2.2 rebounds. He also had a team-high 22 blocks. Shanks signed with Utah State out of high school and spent one semester with the Aggies before transferring to UND.
FARGO—Hockey can be the cruelest sport. The UND men's hockey team lost to Boston University 4-3 in double overtime in the NCAA tournament on Friday, and the Fighting Hawks took their fans through the most grueling of emotional roller coasters. Think getting thrown in the backseat of a car driven by an unhinged criminal, getting tossed around while going on a wild police chase. But as the Terriers celebrated on the Scheels Arena ice, an unlikely event occurred. UND fans, not always known for level-headed reactions, mostly stayed in their seats and applauded.
FARGO—For more than a decade, the UND hockey team's rallying cry at NCAA regionals and the Frozen Four has been to end the program's national championship drought. As the streak grew, so did the drive to bring a title back to Grand Forks. On Thursday afternoon, as the Fighting Hawks skated at Scheels Arena in preparation for the 2017 West Regional against Boston University at 2 p.m. today, the motivation factor has changed gears. UND ended the championship drought last year in Tampa, Fla., where the Fighting Hawks beat Quinnipiac in the title game.
The UND football program has landed a future FBS matchup a little closer to home. North Dakota and Iowa State have agreed to play in 2024. UND athletic director Brian Faison said the proximity of the game is beneficial in two big ways. One, fans have a better opportunity to drive to the game. Two, the school can expect to make more financially. UND will play at Jack Trice Stadium in Ames on Aug. 31. The Fighting Hawks will receive a $550,000 guarantee for the game, according to a report by FBSchedules.com.
The UND women's basketball team has grabbed the program's first commitment to the 2018 recruiting class. Thief River Falls junior Tiahna Nicholson has committed to play at UND. The 6-foot-2 junior center averaged 17.4 points and 12.0 rebounds for the Prowlers this past season. "She has gotten better every year," Thief River Falls coach Jeff Loe said. "Her athleticism is a big part of what schools were looking at. She gets up and down the floor well." Nicholson has played varsity basketball as an eighth-grader and has been a starter the past two seasons.
UND's plan to trim $1.3 million from the athletic department budget is expected to be announced next week, according to President Mark Kennedy. The athletic department was originally given a March 6 deadline but Kennedy extended that timeline to April on March 2.
March Madness is a time when college basketball fans love to embrace the underdog. There may be no better Cinderella story than UND senior guard Corey Baldwin. Six years ago, Baldwin was a high school graduate working at Autozone and as a security guard at a Walgreens in Bridgeport, Conn., with fading dreams of college basketball. On Thursday, he'll be in the starting lineup when the No. 15 Fighting Hawks make their Big Dance debut against No. 2 Arizona in Salt Lake City.
Lute Olson laughs when asked what he thought when North Dakota and Arizona were paired together in the NCAA men's basketball tournament. "Oh my goodness," Olson said. "That's going back in time for me." Thursday's game between No. 15 UND and No. 2 Arizona in Salt Lake City is worlds colliding for the legendary retired basketball coach. Olson, 82, grew up in Hatton and Mayville, N.D., graduated from Grand Forks Central High School and became one of the most successful college basketball coaches of all time during a 25-year career at Arizona.