The Dickinson State University football program currently has 105 student athletes — 75 percent hailing from the Billings to Bismarck area. Dickinson State Bluehawks coach Pete Stanton visited rotary in Bowman to give an update on the football program.
By Chris Slone
Last year, Dickinson State had approximately 11 all-conference players and approximately eight of them were from Montana and North Dakota.
“The heart of our recruiting area is Billings to Bismarck, everywhere north and south,” Dickinson State Bluehawks head coach Pete Stanton said. “There are 45 athletes on our team from the Montana and over 30 now from North Dakota, including (former Bowman County Bulldog) Tristen Peterson and Isaiah Kludt from Hettinger.”
Stanton said the goal is to recruit a plethora of young men from the region. The second goal for Dickinson State is to recruit good people into the program.
“I think the main thing we stress in our program is being good people,” Stanton said.
Stanton also emphasized the importance of his players being good students. Stanton said his players didn’t necessarily have to carry a 4.0 GPA, but they were expected to do the right things in the classroom.
“We have four of our young men in nursing right now. We are encouraging that, whether it’s nursing or business or whatever it might be,” Stanton said. “We have a lot of our guys in business right now and they are getting their internships in Dickinson and those businesses end up keeping them. We also have a lot in education. There are some individuals in Bowman right now that are Dickinson State grads, some of them I coached …
“Our happiest day is not when we win a conference championship, it’s when we have graduation. Our guys are getting their degrees and being productive members of society. A lot of our guys want to stay in Dickinson, or go to Bowman and Baker, that’s what we want. And we’ve kept them here. That’s part of the goal.”
Stanton said the Bluehawks are committed to doing it the right way. If they recruit individuals from other places — California or Utah for example — those individuals have to be the right fit for Dickinson.
According to Stanton, his program isn’t just focused on the field or the classroom, they are committed to serving the community. Last year, Dickinson State had over 700 community hours.
“That’s really big for us. We’re out in the Dickinson community and as a result, we have a lot of good support,” Stanton said. “We’ve done a lot of things in conjunction with our community.”
Dickinson State has won the conference for the fourth consecutive year and advanced to the national playoffs. They won their first road national playoff game.