Friday, September 30, 2016

Lynx Center Sylvia Fowles Named 2016 WNBA Defensive Player of the Year

MINNEAPOLIS/ST. PAUL – The WNBA announced today that Minnesota Lynx center Sylvia Fowles is the recipient of the 2016 WNBA Defensive Player of the Year Award presented by Samsung. Fowles received 19 votes from a national panel of 39 sportswriters and broadcasters. This is Fowles’ third Defensive Player of the Year honor, joining Tamika Catchings (five) and Sheryl Swoopes (three) as the only players to win the award at least three times.
Fowles, the first WNBA Defensive Player of the Year in Lynx history, wrapped up her ninth WNBA season, second with Minnesota, by starting all 34 games for the first time since 2011, averaging 13.9 points, 8.5 rebounds, 1.79 blocks and 1.32 steals in 28.5 mpg. Behind Fowles, the Lynx led the WNBA in defensive rating (96.4) and ranked second in opponent field goal percentage (41.7) and points allowed (77.0 ppg). Fowles completed the season ranked fourth in rebounding, fourth in blocks and 11th in steals, finishing as the league’s only player to finish in the top 12 in all three categories. Fowles shot 59.5% from the field, the second-best percentage in franchise history and fourth-highest in the WNBA this season, and hit 71.7% from the line.  
The 6-6 center posted eight double-doubles in 2016, raising her career total to 107, including two 20-point/10-rebound games (40 career). Fowles became the sixth player in Lynx history to score 30+ points in a game when she registered a season-high 30 points Sept. 17 vs. Atlanta, marking her seventh career 30+ point game. She tallied 15.9 points, on 64.0% shooting, 9.5 rebounds, 2.08 blocks and 1.83 steals over the last 12 games of the season, in which Minnesota went 10-2.
Originally drafted second overall in the 2008 WNBA Draft by the Chicago Sky, Fowles has averaged 15.4 points, 9.5 rebounds and 1.9 blocks in 238 career regular season games (229 starts). She was named a WNBA All-Star in 2009, 2011 and 2013, and is now a three-time WNBA Defensive Player of the year (2011, 2013, 2016). Fowles is a two-time All-WNBA First Team selection (2010, 2013), as well as a four-time All-WNBA Defensive First Team selection (2010, 2011, 2012, 2013).
In honor of being named the 2016 WNBA Defensive Player of the Year presented by Samsung, Fowles will receive $5,000 and a specially designed trophy by Tiffany & Co.

Lynx Head Coach Cheryl Reeve Named 2016 WNBA Coach of the Year

MINNEAPOLIS/ST. PAUL – The WNBA announced today that Minnesota Lynx head coach Cheryl Reeve is the recipient of the 2016 WNBA Coach of the Year Award. Reeve received 17 votes from a national panel of 39 sportswriters and broadcasters. This is Reeve’s second Coach of the Year honor, having received the award in 2011, and the third time a Lynx head coach has been named WNBA Coach of the Year (Suzie McConnell Serio 2004).
Under Reeve’s seven-year tutelage, the Lynx have complied 155 wins over the last six seasons, the most prolific six-year run in WNBA history, and won three WNBA Championships (2011, 2013 and 2015) in a five-year span. Finishing the 2016 season at 28-6, Minnesota registered its fifth 25-win campaign in the last six years and became the first WNBA franchise to win 27+ games in a season three separate times. Since taking over in 2010, Reeve’s .706 winning percentage (168-70) ranks first in league history. She is one of three coaches to win more than 60% of their games (Van Chancellor, .655; Michael Cooper, .616).
Minnesota began its best regular season in the franchise’s 18-year history by winning its first 13 contests, the longest season-opening winning streak in league history. The Lynx finished the season with a team record for total victories wins (28) and matched team bests in home and road wins (15 and 13, respectively). Minnesota’s 13-4 mark away from Target Center marked its league-record sixth consecutive winning road record and the team’s 15-2 home record was the WNBA’s best home record this season. Additionally, Minnesota went 15-1 against Western Conference opponents, including winning all eight road games, becoming the first team in WNBA history to go through a season unbeaten on the road vs. the Western Conference.
Reeve’s other WNBA Coach of the Year honor came in 2011, her second season guiding the Lynx, when Minnesota finished with the league’s best record (27-7). Minnesota’s 14-game improvement over the prior season (2010, 13-21) is tied for the second-largest turnaround in WNBA history.
Prior to reaching the WNBA, the former Rhodes Scholar nominee and basketball star at Philadelphia’s La Salle University spent 12 years at the collegiate level, including head coaching roles at Indiana State and George Washington. She then moved to the WNBA where stints as an assistant under Anne Donovan in Charlotte (2001-02, 2004-05) and Dan Hughes in Cleveland (2003) laid the foundation for an extremely successful tenure as an assistant with the Detroit Shock.
It was in Detroit, alongside head coach Bill Laimbeer and fellow assistant Rick Mahorn, that Reeve helped guide the Shock to the WNBA Finals in three consecutive seasons, winning championships in 2006 and 2008.  Groomed by Laimbeer, who in 2008 expanded her duties to include the director of player personnel role, the Washington Township, N.J., native was hired by Minnesota as Head Coach on Dec. 8, 2009.

Monday, September 26, 2016

Timberwolves Announce 2016-17 Training Camp Roster

Minneapolis/St. Paul – The Minnesota Timberwolves today finalized the team’s 2016-17 Training Camp roster by signing forward Rasual Butler and guards John Lucas III and Toure’ Murry.
Butler, 37, has appeared in 809 games over his 13-year NBA career, averaging 7.5 points and 2.4 rebounds. In 2015-16, he played in 46 games for the San Antonio Spurs, averaging 2.7 points and 1.2 rebounds in 9.4 minutes per game. Butler, the 53rd overall selection in the 2002 NBA Draft by Miami, has played with the Heat, New Orleans Pelicans, Los Angeles Clippers, Chicago Bulls, Toronto Raptors, Indiana Pacers, Washington Wizards and Spurs. Butler played six games under current Timberwolves President of Basketball Operations and Head Coach Tom Thibodeau in Chicago during the 2010-11 NBA season.
In his eight-year NBA career, Lucas III, 33, has averaged 4.8 points, 1.5 assists and 12.3 minutes in 237 games. The 5-11 guard most recently played in the NBA with the Detroit Pistons in 2014-15, averaging 4.7 points and 2.9 assists in 21 games. Lucas has enjoyed NBA stints with the Houston Rockets, Oklahoma City Thunder, Chicago Bulls, Toronto Raptors, Utah Jazz and Pistons. Lucas III played under Thibodeau from 2010-12 in Chicago. He is the son of former NBA player John Lucas Jr., who played 14 years in the NBA from 1976-90.
Murry, 26, has played in 56 games with three teams between two NBA seasons, including appearing in 51 contests with the Knicks in 2013-14 where he averaged 2.7 points. Originally undrafted in the 2012 NBA Draft out of Wichita State, the 6-5 guard spent 2015-16 in the NBA D-League, starting the season with the Texas Legends before being acquired in a trade by the Sioux Falls Skyforce late in the season. Murry played in 45 games between the two stops, averaging 11.5 points, 4.7 assists and 4.1 rebounds in 31.3 minutes per game. Murry played for the Timberwolves entry in the 2016 Summer League, averaging 6.4 points, 3.0 rebounds, 2.8 assists and 1.2 steals in eight games.
Butler will wear No. 12, Lucas III will wear No. 11 and Murry will don No. 23.
45Cole AldrichC6-1124510/31/88Kansas/USA6
88Nemanja BjelicaF6-1023405/09/88Fenerbahce Ulker/Serbia1
12Rasual ButlerF6-721505/23/79La Salle13
5Gorgui DiengC6-1123301/18/90Louisville/Sénégal3
3Kris DunnG6-421003/18/94Providence/USAR
27Jordan HillC6-1024507/27/87Arizona/USA7
1Tyus JonesG6-119005/10/96Duke/USA1
8Zach LaVineG6-518303/10/95UCLA/USA2
11John Lucas IIIG5-1116511/21/82Oklahoma State/USA7
15Shabazz MuhammadF6-622711/13/92UCLA/USA3
23Toure’ MurryG6-520011/08/89Wichita State/USA2
33Adreian PayneF6-1024002/19/91Michigan State/USA2
14Nikola PekovicC6-1129501/03/86Panathinaikos/Montenegro6
9Ricky RubioG6-419210/21/90FC Barcelona/Spain5
4Brandon RushF/G6-622007/07/85Kansas/USA8
32Karl-Anthony TownsF/C6-1125011/15/95Kentucky/USA1
22Andrew WigginsF6-819902/23/95Kansas/Canada2
HEAD COACH: Tom Thibodeau (Salem State)
ASSISTANT COACHES: Andy Greer (Brockport), Ryan Saunders (Minnesota), Rick Brunson (Temple)
HEAD ATHLETIC TRAINER: Gregg Farnam (St. Cloud State)

1Tyus Jones11John Lucas III27Jordan Hill
3Kris Dunn12Rasual Butler32Karl-Anthony Towns
4Brandon Rush14Nikola Pekovic33Adreian Payne
5Gorgui Dieng15Shabazz Muhammad45Cole Aldrich
8Zach LaVine22Andrew Wiggins88Nemanja Bjelica
9Ricky Rubio23Toure’ Murry
Nemanja Bjelicanay-MON-yah bee-ELL-leets-zah
Rasual Butlerrah-sue-uhl
Gorgui DiengGOR-ghee Jeng
Zach LaVineLuh-VEEN
Shabazz MuhammadShuh-BAHZ
Toure’ Murrytu-RAY
Nikola PekovicNEE-koh-lah PEK-oh-vitch

Timberwolves Announce Basketball Staff Additions

Minneapolis/St. Paul – The Minnesota Timberwolves today announced additions to the team’s basketball staff for the 2016-17 NBA season, naming Noah Croom as Assistant General Manager, Brian Pauga as Director of Player Personnel and John Carideo, Jim Eyen, Drew Nicholas, Scott Roth and Jim Todd as Scouts. The team also named Matthew Duhamel as Director of Athletic Therapy, Pierre Nesbit as Assistant Athletic Trainer and Troy Sutton as Assistant Strength and Conditioning Coach.
The team also announced the following staff have been appointed to various positions within the organization: Calvin Booth as Director of Pro Personnel, Matt Bollero as Pro Personnel Scout, David Crewe as Head Strength and Conditioning Coach/Assistant Athletic Trainer, Emmanuel Rohan as Director of Basketball Administration, Todd Checovich as Manager of Basketball Operations and Rachel Saunders as Manager of Team Services.
Croom comes to Minnesota after serving as Legal Counsel and Agent for Goodwin Sports Management (GSM) since 2002. Prior to joining GSM, Noah held positions at Latham & Watkins, a New York City based law firm, the National Basketball Association and the Vancouver Grizzlies. He served as Assistant General Manager and Legal Counsel for the Grizzlies, where he negotiated all player and coach contracts and represented the team in its dealings with the NBA league office.
Pauga spent the last nine seasons with the San Antonio Spurs, including taking over as Director of Scouting in 2012 and General Manager of the NBA D-League’s Austin Spurs in 2013. He started with the Spurs as a Basketball Operations Intern in July 2007 before earning a promotion to Basketball Operations Assistant in 2008. Before joining San Antonio, he worked as a student manager with the Michigan State men’s basketball team from 2003-07, including the Spartans’ 2005 Final Four squad.
Carideo has served as a Scout for NBA teams since 2001, including stops with the Denver Nuggets (2001-09), Charlotte Bobcats (2009-10) and New Orleans Pelicans (2010-16). Before joining the NBA, Carideo spent time as the Head Coach for the Trenton Shooting Stars of the IBL and was an Assistant Coach for various IBL and USBL teams, including winning the 1999 USBL Championship with the Atlantic City Seagulls.
Eyen has more than 26 years of NBA experience with over 30 years of combined coaching, consulting and scouting experience. He most recently served as an Assistant Coach for the Los Angeles Lakers from 2014-16, his second stint with the Lakers. He has also coached with the Los Angeles Clippers, Milwaukee Bucks, Portland Trail Blazers and Sacramento Kings.
Nicholas won the NCAA National Championship with Maryland in 2002 and reached the Final Four twice in his collegiate career. He played professionally for 10 years internationally, including winning the Euroleague Championship in both 2009 and 2011. His international career saw him play in a number of countries, including Greece, Italy, Russia, Spain and Turkey before his retirement in 2013. Since retiring as a player, Nicholas has served as an analyst for a variety of media outlets and coached youth basketball.
Roth returns to Minnesota as a Scout after playing for the Timberwolves in 1989-90, the team’s inaugural season. As a coach, he has served as an assistant on five NBA coaching staffs: Dallas, Detroit, Golden State, Memphis/Vancouver and Toronto as well as stints with four different national teams. Roth had a three-year NBA playing career with stops in Minnesota, San Antonio and Utah before playing internationally until 1994.
Todd has worked as an Assistant Coach for six different NBA teams over 15+ years, most recently as an Assistant to Mike Woodson with the New York Knicks from 2012-14. Todd’s career has also included stops with the Atlanta Hawks, Los Angeles Clippers, Milwaukee Bucks, Sacramento Kings and Toronto Raptors.
Duhamel joins Minnesota as Director of Athletic Therapy after spending six years with the Minnesota Vikings as an Assistant Athletic Trainer/Physical Therapist. Prior to his time with the Vikings, he worked as an Intern with the New England Patriots’ medical staff. Duhamel earned his undergraduate degree in Athletic Training from Northeastern University where he worked with the football and men’s basketball teams, before earning his Doctorate of Physical Therapy from Boston University.
Nesbit begins his first season with the Timberwolves as Assistant Athletic Trainer. Prior to coming to Minnesota, he most recently worked as a Seasonal Assistant Athletic Trainer for the New England Patriots during the team’s run to the 2016 AFC Championship Game. Nesbit received his Bachelor of Science in Athletic Training from Purdue University in 2013 before graduating from Auburn University with a Masters of Education in Exercise Science with an emphasis in Biomechanics in 2015.
Sutton enters his first year with Minnesota as Assistant Strength and Conditioning Coach after most recently serving as the Assistant Director of Sports Performance at Northwestern University over the last four years. Sutton’s professional experience also includes time at Ohio State University, Arizona State University and Ohio University. Sutton received his Bachelor of Science in Sport and Leisure Studies from Ohio State University in 2004 before earning his Master of Science in Health and Human Sciences from Ohio University in 2005.

Timberwolves Announce Coaching Staff Additions

Minneapolis/St. Paul – The Minnesota Timberwolves today announced additions to the team’s coaching staff for the 2016-17 NBA season, naming Andy Greer and Rick Brunson as Assistant Coaches, Peter Patton as Shooting Coach, Daisuke Yoshimoto as Special Assistant to the President of Basketball Operations and promoting Vince Legarza to Player Development Coach. Ryan Saunders will also continue in his capacity as Assistant Coach.

Greer joins the Timberwolves after spending last season as an Assistant with the Toronto Raptors under Dwane Casey. Before joining the Raptors, Greer spent five seasons on Head Coach Tom Thibodeau’s staff in Chicago. Greer’s NBA resume also includes Assistant positions with the Memphis Grizzlies (2007-09), Houston Rockets (2003-07) and New York Knicks (2001-03), and Scout for the Portland Trail Blazers (2009-10).

Brunson is entering his third season coaching under Coach Thibodeau, previously serving as an Assistant Coach in Chicago from 2010-12. He got his start in the NBA coaching ranks as an Assistant with Denver in 2007 before stops in Chicago and Charlotte (2012-13). A nine-year NBA veteran, he played with seven different teams from 1997-2006, including playing in New York (1998-2000) and Houston (2005-06) when Thibodeau served as an Assistant Coach. 

Legarza is entering his second season with the Timberwolves, originally joining the team prior to last season as Player Development Assistant/Player Development Video Coordinator. A San Francisco native, he spent two seasons in the Atlanta Hawks’ Basketball Operations/Player Development departments before coming to Minnesota. Prior to joining the NBA ranks, Legarza spent five years playing at Miami University, including serving as Captain of the squad for three seasons.

Patton has been teaching basketball for over 20 years, including learning the craft of shooting under San Antonio Spurs Assistant Coach Chip Engelland. A four-year graduate at DePaul, Patton never missed a game in college and set the DePaul single-season three-point percentage record as a junior (54.1%), a mark that still stands.

Yoshimoto joins the Timberwolves after spending last season in Denver as Video Coordinator. Before joining the Nuggets, he spent four seasons in Chicago as Video Coordinator under Thibodeau. Prior to starting his career with the New Jersey Nets, Yoshimoto served as Video Coordinator for the Ukraine National Team under the direction of Head Coach Mike Fratello.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Kevin Garnett Announces Retirement

Minneapolis/St. Paul – Minnesota Timberwolves forward Kevin Garnett today announced that he will retire after a 21-year NBA career, 13-plus of those with the Timberwolves. Garnett led the Wolves to the playoffs for eight consecutive seasons, culminated by an appearance in the Western Conference Finals in 2004. After being traded to Boston on July 31, 2007, Garnett led the Celtics to the NBA title the following season.

“It has been a real joy to watch KG come into the league as a young man and watch him develop his skills to become one of the very best in the NBA,” said Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor. “I have treasured the opportunity to see him grow as a leader. I wish him continued success in the next chapter of his life. His Minnesota fans will always cherish the memories he has provided.”

Selected by the Timberwolves with the fifth overall pick in the 1995 NBA Draft, Garnett was the first player selected directly out of high school since 1975. He was named the NBA Most Valuable Player following the 2003-04 season. Over his career, Garnett recorded nine All-NBA Team selections,12 All-Defensive Team selections and was tabbed to play in 15 NBA All-Star Games. For his career, Garnett averaged 17.8 points, 10.0 rebounds, 3.7 assists, 1.4 blocks and 1.3 steals per game.

Garnett retires as the Wolves’ all-time leader in numerous categories, including games played (970), minutes (36,189), points (19,201), rebounds (10,718), blocked shots (1,590), assists (4,216), steals (1,315), double-doubles (607) and triple-doubles (16).

The 6-11 forward’s name is also prominent in the NBA all-time record book. Garnett finishes his career ranked fifth in games played (1,462), third in minutes (50,418), 17th in points (26,071), 11th in field goals made (10,505), ninth in total rebounds (14,662), first in defensive rebounds (11,453), 16th in steals (1,859) and 17th in blocks (2,037).

Garnett appeared in 143 playoff games, averaging 18.2 ppg, 10.7 rpg, 3.3 apg, 1.3 bpg and 1.2 spg. In addition to winning the NBA title in 2008, Garnett and the Celtics advanced to the NBA Finals in 2010, with Boston losing to the Los Angeles Lakers in seven games.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

UND Hockey picked to win third consecutive Penrose Cup

GRAND FORKS, N.D. – The University of North Dakota has been selected to capture a third straight Penrose Cup as National Collegiate Hockey Conference (NCHC) regular-season champion, according to the league’s annual preseason media poll released on Wednesday afternoon.

North Dakota won a second straight league title last season (19-4-1) en route to the program’s eighth NCAA Division I men’s hockey championship. The Fighting Hawks return 18 letterwinners under second-year head coach Brad Berry, including a pair of NCHC Preseason All-Conference Team selections in junior goaltender Cam Johnson and sophomore forward Brock Boeser.

UND garnered 25 of a possible 30 first-place votes, totaling 235 points. Denver, which fell to UND in last year’s Frozen Four semifinal, was second in the vote and grabbed three first-place nods. Minnesota Duluth garnered the remaining two first-place votes and was chosen third.

UND will open the 2016-17 season on Saturday, Oct. 1, with an exhibition game against the University of Manitoba and will raise its national championship banner in a pre-game ceremony.

UMC Alumni Baseball Game

CROOKSTON, Minn. – The University of Minnesota Crookston baseball team will hold an alumni game under the lights at Jim Karn Field Sat., Sept. 24 at 6 p.m. All former UMC baseball players are invited to participate in the game as the Golden Eagle alumni will take on the current UMC baseball team.

The Golden Eagles currently have 22 alumni registered to compete in the alumni game, a record for the school. Any alumnus who hasn’t already can RSVP with Jesse Jennings to be a part of the alumni game. E-mail Jesse at or Head Coach Steve Gust at 218-281-8445 or e-mail at

The game will occur after the UMC football game at 1 p.m. against Southwest Minnesota State University at Ed Widseth Field and after the UMC volleyball game at 4 p.m. versus Minnesota State University, Mankato.

The Golden Eagle baseball program is in their third season under Head Coach Steve Gust. They have ushered in a major transformation during Gust’s time at UMC going from 1-47 the year prior to 39 wins in the last two seasons. The Golden Eagles culminated last season’s 25 win season by earning a berth in the NSIC Tournament for the first time since 2001. Minnesota Crookston will look to continue to improve as they enter their third season under Coach Gust. UMC has their largest roster under Gust with 49 players currently on the roster.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

UND's Boeser, Johnson garner NCHC preseason accolades

GRAND FORKS, N.D. – University of North Dakota sophomore forward Brock Boeser and junior goaltender Cam Johnson were among the six players named today to the 2016-17 NCHC Preseason All-Conference Team by a vote of conference media.

Boeser, the reigning conference scoring champion, was the only unanimous selection to the team, while Johnson received 27 of a possible 30 votes. Denver sophomore forward Dylan Gambrell and senior defenseman Will Butcher, Omaha senior forward Austin Ortega, and Miami junior defenseman Louie Belpedio rounded out the team.

Boeser was named the NCHC Rookie of the Year last season after racking up a conference-leading 60 points in 42 games. That included 20 goals and 35 points in 24 NCHC games, both of which also led the conference. The Burnsville, Minn., native was named to the AHCA All-America West First Team, joining Ed Belfour (1986-87) and Kevin Maxwell (1978-79) as the only UND freshmen to earn All-America honors.

Johnson joined his teammate Boeser on the AHCA All-America Team, earning second-team accolades after going 24-4-2 with a 1.66 goals against average and school-record .935 save percentage in his first season as a starter. The Troy, Mich., native led the nation in winning percentage (.833) and amassed a school-record shutout streak of 298 minutes, 25 seconds, that was the second-longest in NCAA Division I men’s hockey history.

Boeser, Johnson and the Fighting Hawks, the defending NCAA champions, open the 2016-17 season on Saturday, Oct. 1, with an exhibition game against the University of Manitoba. UND will raise its eighth national championship banner in a pre-game ceremony.

Lynx Moore Named Western Conference Player of the Month

MINNEAPOLIS/ST. PAUL – The WNBA today named Minnesota Lynx forward Maya Moore its Western Conference Player of the Month presented by Samsung for the month of September after leading the Lynx to a league-best 28-6 final record and first overall seed for the 2016 WNBA Playoffs. This is the second Western Conference Player of the Month presented by Samsung award for Moore this season and the eighth of her career, having also been named twice in 2013, three times in 2014 and once in 2015. The award marks the 11th time a Lynx player has been named Player of the Month, with Lindsay Whalen (August 2011), Seimone Augustus (July 2011) and Rebekkah Brunson (June 2011) also having previously received the award. Moore has been named Western Conference Player of the Week three times this season (May 14 - 22, May 30 - June 5, July 4 - July 10), which marks 18 in her career, tying for fourth (Lauren Jackson) on the WNBA's all-time weekly award list behind Tamika Catchings (22), Tina Charles (21) and Diana Taurasi (19).
Moore averaged 21.6 points, 4.9 rebounds and 3.9 assists in seven games in September, shooting 46.5% from the floor, 82.4% from the line and 57.7% from long range. She notched 20+ points in five of seven September matches, leading the Lynx in both scoring and assists four times. The month started off with a 27-point, six-rebound performance against the Washington Mystics on Sept. 2, which would be one of Moore’s two 27-point games this month (Sept. 13).
Highlights from Moore’s month include:
  • Sept. 2 vs. Washington: Tallied a game-high 27 points, six rebounds and two steals in the 75-69 win over the Mystics.
  • Sept. 13 at Chicago: Notched 22 of her game-high 27 points in the second half, adding a game-best five assists, marking the 15th time she’s led the Lynx in that category this season.
  • Sept. 17 vs. Atlanta: Posted 21 points and a game-high eight assists in the final regular season game, earning a victory over the Atlanta Dream.
New York Liberty forward Tina Charles was named Eastern Conference Player of the Month presented by Samsung for the month of September. Charles averaged 23.5 points and league-leading 11.0 rebounds per game in September.
The Lynx play next on Wednesday, Sept. 28 at Xcel Energy Center in Game 1 of the Semifinals. The game can be seen on ESPN2 and heard on BOB 106.1 FM.

Monday, September 19, 2016

NDSU's Lechler MVFC Offensive Lineman of the Week

ST. LOUIS - North Dakota State right tackle Landon Lechler was named Missouri Valley Football Conference Offensive Lineman of the Week by the league office Monday, Sept. 19.

Lechler had a 100% assignment grade and led the Bison offensive line with 88% finish and 85% technique grades in NDSU's 23-21 win over the 11th-ranked Iowa Hawkeyes. He had five knockdowns and did not allow a sack or quarterback hurry in 70 snaps.

NDSU rushed for 239 yards and averaged 4.9 yards per carry while outgaining the Hawkeyes 363-231 in total yardage.  The Bison pulled within 21-20 with a 15-play, 80-yard drive that ate 8:39 off the clock before getting a three-and-out on defense to set up the game-winning drive.

North Dakota State (3-0) is idle this week before opening the MVFC schedule against two-time defending league co-champion Illinois State (2-1) in the annual homecoming game at 1 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 1.  The Redbirds are coming off a home loss to Eastern Illinois and open conference play this week at Indiana State.

2016-17 ND Officials Association Hall of Fame Inductees

VALLEY CITY, N.D. –The North Dakota Officials Association (NDOA) announces the 47th induction class to the 2016-17 Hall of Fame as determined at its recent Board of Directors meeting.  The inductees will be recognized and receive awards at various North Dakota High School Activities Association (NDHSAA) events during the 2016-17 school year.

Jeff Risk – Minot
Jeff Risk has officiated high school basketball for forty-two years, and high school football for forty years in North Dakota.  During that time, Jeff officiated in 38 State A and B Boys and Girls Basketball Tournaments and in 5 State Football Championship games. Besides high school and college basketball and football, Risk was a minor league baseball umpire, working up to as high as AA.  Along with the thousands of high school games Jeff has worked, he also has served many roles promoting officiating and instructing officials, including but not limited to:  Serving on the NDOA Board, MonDak Conference Commissioner, Dak and North Star Conference Assignor, NDHSAA Workshop Supervisor, Basketball and Football Clinician.  Jeff is the Athletic Director at Nedrose High School, he and his wife Tammy reside in Minot.

Russ Schmeichel – Jamestown
Russ Schmeichel’s officiating career started in 1965 and for almost the next 50 years he worked approximately 5,000 North Dakota high school basketball games.  Over his career, he officiated many State A and B Boys and Girls Basketball Tournaments and many more Region Tournaments.  Russ was also a football official for seventeen years and is now a certified track official in Minnesota and has worked many State Track and State Cross Country Meets.  Russ will be the starter for this year’s North Dakota State Cross Country Meet.  Russ was the head of the Jamestown Officials Association for many years and led many workshops and clinics.  He and his wife Carol have three childred, Don (44), Jen (42), Dave (36), and five grandchildren.  They are retired and live in Andover, MN.

Randy Wolden – West Fargo
Randy Wolden served as a basketball official for 32 years and football official for 12 years in North Dakota.  Besides the over 30 regional tournaments, Randy officiated in 5 State A or B Basketball Tournaments and one Football Championship over his career. Randy was a very accomplished college basketball official, working in the Dak 10, NSIC, NCC, MIAC and Summit League for 27 years.  Randy served on the NDOA Board, and was the President of the Red River Valley Officials Association.  Randy and his wife Vickie have three children, Mitchell (Jennifer), Benjamin (Kaitlyn), and Kory, and two grandchildren, Emily and Logan.  They reside in West Fargo.

The NDOA has inducted 135 officials into its Hall of Fame since the inaugural class in 1965.  Plaques commemorating all Hall of Fame members are housed in the North Dakota Athletic Hall of Fame, located inside the Jamestown Civic Center.