Meet the Mascots: North Dakota State's Thundar the Bison

Meet the Mascots: North Dakota State's Thundar the Bison

The Summit League features the NCAA's most unique collection of one-of-a-kind nicknames among its member institutions. Within U.S. college athletics, four names are exclusively held by Summit League schools: Mastodons (Fort Wayne), Golden Grizzlies (Oakland), Jackrabbits (South Dakota State) and Leathernecks (Western Illinois). In addition, the names Coyotes (South Dakota) and Kangaroos (Kansas City) are unique to NCAA Division I athletics.

Each Tuesday this summer, The Summit League will highlight the story behind the origin of each member institution's name and its mascot.

This week we will take a closer look into the North Dakota State mascot, Thundar the Bison.


North Dakota State

North Dakota State University's athletic teams have progressed from the "Farmers" in the 1890s, to the "Aggies" in the early 1900s, to the "Bison," North Dakota State's current athletic symbol.

It was developed by head football coach Stan Borleske in 1919 because he and members of the football team didn't like being known as the Aggies.  Borleske wanted a strong and fierce mascot.

The Bison was a logical choice. The great animals once roamed the North Dakota prairie in vast numbers, and over the years Bison athletic teams added an additional name, the "Thundering Herd."