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Published April 03, 2009, 12:00 AM

Bucky takes it all on: Flood, cancer can't slow down NDSU wrestling coach

It was last fall when Bucky Maughan was in the best shape he’s been in years. The regimen included running and lifting weights. Never one to be short on toughness, he probably could have stepped on the mat and given one of his North Dakota State wrestlers some resistance.

By: Jeff Kolpack, INFORUM

It was last fall when Bucky Maughan was in the best shape he’s been in years. The regimen included running and lifting weights. Never one to be short on toughness, he probably could have stepped on the mat and given one of his North Dakota State wrestlers some resistance.

But the last few months have brought their share of challenges. Last week, with his house in north Fargo barely saved from flooding, he drove to Bemidji, Minn., to get his chemotherapy treatment.

What normally takes three hours at the Roger Maris Cancer Center was a day and a half venture. But Maughan said the precautionary treatments after surgery for colon cancer are going well – and he’s getting revved up for next season.

To date, he’s felt vey few side effects commonly associated with chemotherapy. His skin gets sensitive to cold for a few days after treatments. He’s halfway done with the entire ordeal and his hair is still hanging tough.

His resolve to get the Bison wrestling program to his Division I standards is getting thicker. He’s not about to retire; not after the Bison struggled at times this year and did not qualify one wrestler to the Division I wrestling championships.

“I want to get this thing to where I’m happy with it,” he said. “I want to get ‘that’ caliber of kid in place. I’ll leave it when I’m happy with it.”

The 68-year-old Maughan just finished his 45th year as the Bison head coach. Those four Division II titles are a memory. Now the trick is to get the program to a top 20 status.

With the upperclassmen struggling, Maughan started four freshmen late in the season. He left Thursday morning for the Senior National High School Wrestling Championships in Virginia Beach, Va.

The fear of a catastrophic flood aside, his biggest concern about last week was postponing campus visits by prospective recruits. Signing day is next week.

“They’ll get pressure from other people to sign and they’ll have (scholarship) offers on the table,” Maughan said.

This week, with school closed because of the flood, the offices at the Bison Sports Arena were quiet. Maughan couldn’t say enough about the efforts of NDSU athletes to save homes, his included.

It was another chapter in an unordinary year.

“I don’t feel any different than I’ve felt forever,” Maughan said.


Jeff Kolpack’s NDSU media blog can be found

at www.areavoices.com/bisonmedia

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