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Jeff Kolpack, Published July 03 2010

Bison notebook: Deal helped NDSU go national

Not only was she the first female president for Team Makers booster club, but Joan Deal took office in one of the most transitional years in North Dakota State athletics history.

That was in 2003 when the Bison made the move to Division I. This summer, she and her husband, Greg Deal, are making their own move: to Pierre, S.D., where Greg will run a new store for Butler Machinery Company.

“No, I’m not going to be cheering for the Jackrabbits – that’s what everybody asks,” Joan Deal said.

She doesn’t consider herself a pioneer for females in a mostly-male club saying she just had a job to do. But her contributions should be noted, nonetheless. She was also on the committee that approved alcohol for tailgating at NDSU football games.

The 2003 season was considered an exploratory year in the NCAA reclassification process, a chance for the school to assess whether it really wants to go Division I. There was no doubt in Deal’s mind that moving up was the right decision.

Other people weren’t so sure.

“The unknowns were really brought to the forefront,” she said. “But it seemed like every time we turned a corner, there was more optimism than what people thought. They were negative to start with but people were starting to say this might be the right thing to do.”

They also said it with their checkbook: it was around that time when Team Makers contributions started to skyrocket. They have more than doubled since the Division I move.

“We went nationwide and past alumni and supporters saw us on a whole different level, which was truly awesome,” Deal said.

Etc. etc. etc.

The Bison football team has several scholarship offers out for the 2011 recruiting class but as of Thursday, there was nobody on the cusp of accepting one. … Vicky Braegelmann, a four-time Division II All-American and two-time national player of the year at Minnesota-Duluth, was named the new director of volleyball operations at NDSU. … Bison senior Heather Zander was named The Summit League’s Women’s Outdoor Track Athlete of the year in a vote of league coaches. Her ninth place finish in the NCAA Division I heptathlon was good enough for All-American honors – the third Bison athlete to do so. … NDSU freshman pitcher Whitney Johnson finished 20th in the Division I strikeout statistics with 324, 24th in wins with 24 and 25th in shutouts with nine. First baseman Melissa Chmielewski was 25th in both RBIs and doubles and outfielder Elisa Victa was 14th in sacrifice hits. … Junior Whitney Carlson (4.0 GPA, zoology) was named to the ESPN The Magazine track and field/cross country Academic All-American first team.

Jeff Kolpack can be heard on the WDAY Golf Show, 10 a.m. to noon on WDAY-AM (970). He can be reached at (701) 241-5546.

Kolpack’s NDSU media blog can be found

at www.areavoices.com/bisonmedia