Written By: Walter Hines
Author's Note: Update on Ex-NMSU AD Brian Faison
I wrote the piece below in 2004 for a sports forum run by Jimmy Hester, a UNM booster that I had befriended and introduced to Faison at an Aggie-Lobo football game in Las Cruces in 2003. Faison left NMSU in May 2008 to become AD at North Dakota a while after Mike Martin became the NMSU President and hired Dr. McKinley Boston as AD. He’s led Fighting Sioux athletics into a new conference, the Big Sky, D-1 status in football and 13 other sports, and facility improvements and increased budget. He’s received praise from the North Dakota administration and alumni.
Unfortunately for Faison, controversy not of his own making continues to dog him. There was an extended battle, in which he remained a reasoned, neutral leader, about whether to drop the school’s Fighting Sioux moniker. Many Sioux in North Dakota said they were honored by the name, but one tribe was dead set against it. The NCAA intervened and political correctness won out, despite intense efforts by the North Dakota legislature to retain Fighting Sioux. A statewide vote resulted in citizens approving the removal of the moniker. Ironically, a group of Sioux is now threatening legal intervention to retain the name.
I’ve exchanged emails and had several conversations with Faison over the years. He retains his self-effacing qualities and sense of humor. When I asked what the biggest difference was between NMSU and UND, besides the weather, he mentioned student diversity.
He said, “When we talk about diversity here, it involves whether an individual is Swedish or Norwegian.” The Sven and Ole jokes are alive and well in North Dakota. Continue Reading This Post >>