MSU President's column for Traill County Tribune

August 3, 2013

Return of student athletes marks the beginning of a new academic year


One of the first signs of the beginning of the fall semester is the return of athletes to campus. Pre-season camps for the football and volleyball teams begin this coming week. We are looking forward to having the student athletes on campus and anxiously await the opportunity to watch them in action in their respective sports.

Members of the volleyball team report to campus Sunday, August 4. There are 21 players on the roster. They are led by sixth-year Mayville State head coach and Mayville State graduate Lindsey Johnson. Coach Johnson will again be assisted by Mayville State Ashley Nelson who has been elevated from a part-time assistant coach to full-time. Also assisting for the second year is former Comet volleyball player Emily Liljestrand. The volleyball team will conclude pre-season activities on August 16, when they host a triangular that will include the Comets, Waldorf College of Iowa, and Viterbo College of LaCrosse, Wisc. The Comets play the first match of the day at 4:30 p.m. against Waldorf. The triangular will be preceded by a JV match between the Comets and the Waldorf JV team, at 3:00 p.m.

Pre-season camp for football begins Monday, August 12. The team’s first game for 2013 will be on Saturday, August 31, when the Comets go on the road to face Midland Lutheran University in Nebraska. At the time of this writing, 130 players were expected to report for camp. The football team is scheduled to play six home games, five road games, and four junior varsity games (two at home and two away).

Mayville State alumnus Derek Schlieve is the Comets’ third-year head coach. Coach Schlieve will be assisted by David Pena, Jim Gremmels, Jason Cline, Nathaniel Gill, Scott Parker, Billy Tomblin, Cody Schultz, Weston McGill, Jarrett Jiru, and former Comet player Anton Anderson. Eight of the eleven football coaching staff members are Mayville State graduates.

Dennis Hutter is returning for his ninth season as the head coach of the women’s basketball team. He will be assisted by 2009 Mayville State graduate Dave Moe who has been elevated to full-time status within the department. The women’s basketball roster includes 17 players.

This will be the second season at Mayville State for head men’s basketball coach Dan DeWitt. His assistant will be Mayville State alumnus Bryen Pyles and student assistant Kevin Ratzsch. Practice for the men will begin this fall. Coach DeWitt expects to have 25 players on the roster.

A search for a new head women’s fastpitch softball coach is underway. Former coach Tracy Marback resigned in late July, so there will be a new leader in the dugout for the Comets this fall. The rest of the staff will be determined once the new head coach is in place.  

Head baseball coach Scott Berry will be returning for his 31st  year as head coach. Coach Berry will be assisted by Peter Pratt, who was a pitching coach at St. Cloud State before joining the Comets coaching staff three years ago. In his first year, Alex Sumner will also serve as an assistant baseball coach. Coaches expect to have 60 players join the team this year.

After three years of work toward the formation of a new conference that would replace the Dakota Athletic Conference (DAC), the North Star Athletic Association was born last spring. Four former DAC schools and a former NCAA III school have joined forces to create the new league. Mayville State, Valley City State, Jamestown College, Dakota State, and Presentation College will compete as a conference this year, and Dickinson State will join in the 2014-15 academic year. With interest from other schools in our region, the prospects of growing the league are positive. This helps to solidify our position as a conference. Now we will be back to playing for a conference championship and playing host to various playoff games, as we did in the days of the DAC.

We’re looking forward to a promising year in Comet athletics. We invite you to attend Mayville State’s games whenever you can. The game schedules for the teams can be found on the Mayville State University Athletics website at Printed pocket schedules will be available soon at Mayville State’s main athletics office in the Lewy Lee Fieldhouse.