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Posted 12/11/13 (Wed)


I suppose most of you in Bison country are aware that the coach of the Thundering Herd, the Bison of  NDSU, has announced he is leaving for Wyoming. I understand he is a great coach, and has done a tremendous job of elevating the Bison to national prominence in college football.
But what I don’t understand is why contracts aren’t honored in sports. And since I am a heck of an athlete, maybe that is why I don’t understand. If you plan on leaving anyway, why negotiate a contract. I know I am in the minority on this, but I would have said, “Goodbye. Thank you for all you have done. And you can watch the championship game on ESPN from a motel room in Laramie.” But then that’s just me.
It’s a far cry from the way Fred Fridley Sr. handled his stint at Watford City. As head coach for 42 years, he was several times coach of the year in North Dakota, and one time National High School Coach of the Year. He could have left Watford at any time for more money and more prestige. But he became a Wolf. And he stayed a Watford City Wolf. I think that was a touch of class that most coaches and most pro athletes do not have.
I’m not sure if I told you that I kind of coached Fred in golf. You see, Fred and I were golf partners in league golf for a number of years. I coached him well. He gave me a stroke a hole and two on the par 5’s. Then we played pretty even.
But as many of you know, and I wrote about it several years ago, Fred and I are both deaf. You know. Like “What’d you say?”
Our conversations during a round of golf would go something like, “How are the cattle doing?” And I would reply, “I bought Will a saddle for his birthday.”
Fred. “What’d you get on that hole?”
Me. “I filled the cart last week. It’s your turn.”
Me. “How are the boys doing?”
Fred. “I think it’s about 150 yards.”
Me. “Did you tell Betty Ann we’re gong to Dickinson to golf?”
Fred. “They are having a golf tourney in Dickinson. We should go.”
Me. “That wind is coming up. Think it’s going to blow up a rain?”
Fred. “The train doesn’t come through here anymore. Hasn’t for years.”
Me. “I don’t know. Sometimes you can get eyedrops that help.”
And so it would go. But I will tell you one thing. If you owed him seven dollars at the end of the round, and you said you owed him six, he could damn sure hear!
Congratulations Partner! Enjoy!