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Jeff Kolpack, Published October 25 2012

Kolpack: Loyalty that goes beyond dollar-deep

Fargo - Travel six miles east of Breckenridge, Minn., on Highway 210 and you’ll run into a house with two flag poles in the front yard. One has the United States flag on it, and the other has a Bison one attached to it.

National pride and football … it doesn’t get more American than that in the fall. It is the front yard of Bob Yaggie, who on Saturday afternoon will take his usual seat eight rows up near the 40-yard line at Gate City Bank Field at the Fargodome and cheer on the program he used to play and coach for.

He’ll also keep a close eye on No. 40, who on Thursday was the recipient of the Bob and Darlene Yaggie Football Scholarship. Fullback Andrew Grothmann is typical of the 14 Harvest Bowl scholarship recipients that were awarded this week, and perhaps the best part is they give donors a personal touch with their dollars.

“You get to know the individual and you take special interest in their achievements,” Bob said, “and that’s one of the reasons we like to contribute.”

Bob Yaggie has two stipulations for his scholarship: The player must be at least a sophomore in good academic standing with a rural background. Grothmann, from Hillsboro, N.D., is an agricultural economics major.

“I always see Bob sitting in his seat,” Grothmann said. “They’re really passionate about football and giving back to the Bison.”

Bob and Darlene have two sons, Paul and Bruce, who played in the program. Bruce was a captain his senior year and has his name attached to a father-son gift that was awarded to defensive tackle Ryan Drevlow. Like Grothmann, Drevlow is a small-town product from Gwinner, N.D., who is majoring in electrical engineering.

Grothmann and Drevlow would have excelled in any decade of Bison football since Bob Yaggie’s day. He played on the teams in the early 1960s that struggled, but was on the ground floor as an assistant coach when Bison football went from the outhouse to the penthouse.

There wasn’t much of a middle ground. In 1962, they were 0-10. In 1964, they were 10-1.

“A quick transition,” Bob said. “It was possible because of two assistant coaches, you had five or six and they all went out and recruited. You got money from Team Makers and you had good coaches. They got every ounce of athletic ability out of those guys.”

That fits Grothmann’s profile, who has put aside an MCL strain to his knee and will return to the lineup against Southern Illinois. He said when he came to NDSU three years ago he was pretty sure nobody outside of Hillsboro knew who he was. They do now, especially the guy sitting near the 40-yard line.

“I get pretty close to those guys, I only sit about 20 feet from them,” Bob said. “I especially watch what they’re doing out there. I’ll yell down ‘good block’ or ‘good tackle’ and I really enjoy that.”

Forum reporter Jeff Kolpack can be reached at (701) 241-5546. Kolpack’s NDSU media blog can be found at www.areavoices.com/bisonmedia