Lady Vols might take Bison up on offer
North Dakota State head women's basketball coach Amy Ruley gave her recruiting pitch. And got a verbal commitment within minutes. A player? Not quite. It was University of Tennessee head coach Pat Summitt, who responded to this question from Rule...
North Dakota State head women's basketball coach Amy Ruley gave her recruiting pitch. And got a verbal commitment within minutes.
A player? Not quite. It was University of Tennessee head coach Pat Summitt, who responded to this question from Ruley: How about playing a game at the Fargodome?
"It's nothing in writing, but I believe her," Ruley said. "I think she'll do it."
Ruley proposed the game as part of her acceptance speech at the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame banquet in Knoxville, Tenn., earlier this month. Ruley wasn't planning on it until she saw Summitt sitting near the front of the head table.
"I kind of went out on a limb," Ruley said. "I thought, 'What the heck, I might as well give it a go.'"
During her speech, Ruley talked about NDSU's move to Division I this fall and that bringing a team like Tennessee to Fargo "would be an unbelievable event for us."
She referenced the University of Kansas' trip to the University of North Dakota two years ago and what it did for attendance at Ralph Engelstad Arena.
It wasn't long, Ruley said, before Summitt leaned over to her assistant coaches and said, "Let's do it. Let's start working on it."
It appears the soonest it could happen would be in four to five years. Tennessee's schedule, Ruley was told, is probably full until then.
Ruley has an ally in R.B. Summitt, Pat Summitt's husband. He's an avid hunter who has heard of North Dakota's bountiful pheasant season in the fall.
Ruley said Pat Summitt's philosophy in scheduling a team like NDSU is to promote women's basketball. The Lady Vols have a history of that making trips to the University of Montana, Portland State (Ore.), Youngstown State (Ohio), Northern Illinois, Carson-Newman (Tenn.), Delta State (Miss.) and Puerto Rico-Mayaguez.
"She really believes in helping the sport anyway she can," Ruley said.
NDSU, entering the second year of a five-year reclassification period, won't have a full-fledged Division I schedule until 2005-06.
Ruley said "it would make more sense" to schedule the Lady Vols once NDSU is farther along in the transition.
Readers can reach Forum reporter Jeff Kolpack at (701) 241-5546