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Forum editorial: Great run for Taylor at NDSU

When one visionary gets together with another visionary, and that second visionary finds yet another, it’s certain good things will happen.

That’s precisely what developed in North Dakota State University athletics when former President Joseph Chapman hired Gene Taylor to be athletic director, and Taylor in turn hired Bison football coach Craig Boll. From the start, Chapman, Taylor and Bohl knew they had a winning combination, and the record confirms it was.

Taylor announced Monday he was leaving NDSU to take a job in the athletic department at the University of Iowa. While it’s the right thing to wish him well, it’s very likely Bison fans everywhere wish he were staying on a little longer.

Taylor’s tenure at NDSU will go down in school history as the most remarkable era in collegiate sports thus far. The school’s sports programs flourished; and not only the marquee football and basketball teams. In the giant shadows of three football championships and record-breaking basketball performances, other teams made their marks on the national sports landscape: women’s softball, men’s baseball and track and field.

But probably Taylor’s most important contribution to his school of 13 years was his firm guidance in the conversion from Division II to Division I competition. Despite the naysayers, Taylor, with vital support from the administration, stuck with the change, and it has paid off handsomely for players, fans and the school’s national reputation. It is no wonder other schools noticed Taylor’s talent.

To say it’s been a good run for Taylor is an understatement. The work he did for NDSU, the Fargo community and by extension the state of North Dakota cannot be minimized. Collegiate sports are different – better – than at any time in the state’s history. Bison sports programs now perform at a level that is mandated by expectations that have never been higher. That winning ethic (at the higher level of play than in the past) was introduced to the campus by Chapman, and Taylor ran with it.

Taylor can be proud of his accomplishments, and fans of Bison sports can be thankful he was the right man at the right time. We wish him and his family well in their new challenges in Iowa.

Forum editorials represent the opinion of Forum management and the newspaper’s Editorial Board.