FARGO — Growing up with the son of the North Dakota State head men’s basketball coach had its moments of coolness, not to mention craziness.
Lyle “Bud” Belk passed away last month at age 91; his obituary appeared today on inforum.com. Bud was a treasure, an old-school coach who lived the basketball life at full speed.
He led the Bison to a North Central Conference title in 1970-71, the first one for the school in 20 years. He was the NDSU head coach from 1968-72, resigning for health reasons mainly because he put every ounce of energy he had into it.
His son, John, and I hung out through the growing-up years and there were times at night in the Belk basement when Bud, no longer the basketball coach but a professor at NDSU, would grab his short-wave radio and check in on every NCC game he could.
He’d zip the dial to the St. Cloud game. Over to Augustana. Back to South Dakota State. He knew exactly how to hear each game. I didn’t remember exactly the games or stations but you get the idea.
One time on a youth basketball tournament trip to Omaha, Bud, at every stop, would seemingly get on a pay phone and talk to basketball people. He loved the NCC.
His Bison team was the one that christened what was then called the New Fieldhouse in 1970 and later renamed the Bison Sports Arena. The old tartan floor surface was considered state of the art. The facility is now the Sanford Health Athletic Complex.
That team hosted Villanova that year, a Wildcats team that finished runnerup to UCLA in the NCAA tournament. I’m sure Bud pulled some strings to get that game at home.
Bud was always on the move. The intensity of those NCC games back in the day, when the arenas were smaller, must have been something else. Bud was a good guy. All those students who had him for a teacher would say the same.