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Kevin Schnepf, Published February 24 2008

NDSU unable to book coaches show

Just in case you hadn’t noticed, North Dakota State basketball coaches can no longer be seen on Sunday-night television.

For years, the 10:30 p.m. “Bison Coaches Show” was a staple for local viewers – 17,000 watched it on average during a four-week period in February of 2007, the last time the show was aired.

But don’t expect a return anytime soon.

“I think our fans would like to see it if there was a way to do it,” said NDSU athletic director Gene Taylor. “But the logistics of doing the show are very, very difficult.”

Summit League scheduling is the culprit. With the men playing Thursday and Saturday conference games and the women playing Saturday and Monday, NDSU officials could not figure a time when they could tape the show.

In the old days of Division II when both Bison teams played Friday-Saturday North Central Conference games, the show was taped Sunday and aired that night.

“Finding a time to record it … it was just not doable,” said Taylor, who also said finding air time during the week was another challenge.

It can be done.

Oral Roberts University, one of 10 Summit League members, airs its weekly “ORU Sports Reports” on Tuesdays. But with three stations sharing the air time, the show hits Tulsa living rooms late morning, mid afternoon and early evening.

Oral Roberts, Indiana-Purdue Fort Wayne and Missouri-Kansas City are the only Summit League schools to have a weekly coaches’ television show.

IPFW airs a men’s-only show at 11 a.m. Sundays on the local CBS station. UMKC airs its men-women show on a local cable station on Wednesday nights.

“There doesn’t seem to be an outcry,” NDSU men’s coach Saul Phillips said of the show’s disappearance. “I think a lot of people would rather see us play on TV than see me talk about a game.”

More live coverage seems to be a trend among smaller Division I programs. They figure a regionally-televised game gives their programs more exposure.

The Bison put money into telecasts of this year’s men’s home game against Colorado State and the men and women home games against South Dakota State.

“The regional games give you a broader scope of promotion,” Taylor said.

“If we would have had a coaches show, we might not have had the resources to put those games on the air,” said Phillips, who said for now he is comfortable with not having a weekly TV show. “I think we are fortunate because the overall exposure we get compared to any other school in the league is probably pretty extreme.”

Recruits doing well

Two Bison recruits were big reasons their high school teams were still playing Saturday night.

Andy Nagel, a 6-foot-9, 245-pound senior forward, had 18 points and 13 rebounds to lift Fort Dodge St. Edmond to an Iowa Class 2A district championship win last week. Saturday night, St. Edmond (22-1) won a substate championship, putting the school in its fifth state tournament since 1999.

Nagel, who signed a letter of intent with the Bison last fall, was averaging 13 points prior to last week. As a junior, he averaged 18 points and 11 rebounds and was a second team all-state selection. As a sophomore, he averaged 11 points and 10 rebounds and was named to the all-state tournament team.

Nate Zastrow, a 6-foot junior point guard from Lincoln High School in Manitowoc, Wis., had 24 points and six assists in a Division I region semifinal win last week. Saturday night, seventh-seeded Lincoln lost to second-seeded Kaukauna in its region’s title game 66-46.

Zastrow, who verbally committed to the Bison last fall, is averaging nearly 22 points per game. He produced his second 30-point game of the season earlier this month in a 67-51 loss to Bay-Port.

“Zastrow’s an amazing player,” said Bay-Port coach Nate Rykal. “He can pull up from anywhere on the floor and hit a shot and he can drive to the basket. We’re a good defensive team and he still had a good night.”

Readers can reach Forum reporter

Kevin Schnepf at (701) 241-5549 or at kschnepf@forumcomm.com

Schnepf’s NDSU media blog can be found at www.areavoices.com