|History||Dakota Bikers (1979-present)|
|Arena||Sofawolf Stadium (2013-present)|
|City||Sioux Falls, SD|
|Team colors||Black, Silver, and White
|Owner(s)||Bernard Dwight (male red fox)|
|RL Primary Contact||FadedForest|
|General manager||Alexander Whitaker (male arctic fox)|
|Head coach||Erik Devlin (male kangaroo)|
|Assistant coach||Jack Wayans (male black labrador)|
|Lead trainer||(awaiting assignment)|
|Championships||7 (1993, 1995, 2004, 2008, 2010, 2013, 2018)|
|Conference titles||11 (1993, 1995, 1999, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2008, 2010, 2012, 2013, 2018)|
|Division titles||10 (2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021)|
An Expansion Team
The Dakota Bikers had turned into one of the most feared teams in the FBA, with a well earned reputation as being one of the more "rough" teams in the league. They were called everything from "dirty" to "thuggish" to "borderline f***ing assault!" (thanks John Stoat for that). However, in those same sentences, even if in complaint, the words "top defensive team" were also often uttered. This is because the Bikers ranked as the number 1 defensive team in the league, holding opponents under 90 points in 88% of games and under 80 points in 45% of games for a defensive efficiency rating of 98.4 (points allowed per 100 possessions), easily one of the top 15 defensive ratings in FBA history (since the introduction of the shot clock). The coaching staff and executive management had, over time, put together a team of tenacious and talented defenders (Wayans, Malone), big physical bruisers (Munt, Trotsky), and pesky, bothersome "blanket your entire body" type players (Bentham, Papanastasopoulos).
The latter two players had been two of the most complained about defenders in the league, as opponents say they practically "get away with murder" every night with their in-your-muzzle style of stifling D. However, the results cannot be argued with, as both players combined hampered the opposing team's best offensive threat to shooting an average of 16% lower from the field than they do on average, all the while fouling out of a mere 6 games combined in the 08-09 season. It is important to note, however, that Papanastasopoulos (or Papa Nasty, as some like to call him) played for the Biloxi Mudpuppies that season, who used him sparingly in the second half of the season because his style of play was attracting negative attention to the team in addition to not fitting in with the Mudpuppies' system. Noticing this defensive stalwart being ostracized by his club, Coach Kurt O'Malley (a bruiser in his own right during his playing days) keenly picked up the offensively talented free agent Conrad Schaefer and dealt him to Biloxi in a sign and trade for Papanastasopoulos, whom the Mudpuppies were happy to rid themselves of. Whatever negative attention their new addition brought didn't bother the Bikers, "as long as he plays with the same passion as he always has" O'Malley stated. The Bikers certainly didn't mind the attention, as intimidation was a big part of their game. Bentham and Papa were tagged "The Dastardly Duo", "The Terrible Twosome", "The Pain Gang" and other such monikers. However, the Bikers themselves had been called "The Dirty Dozen" before, so the name calling didn't faze them or change their approach to winning.
And winning is what they were good at. In 2008-2009 the Bikers finished 57-25, good for 2nd in the Western Conference. Other teams might not have liked the way they win, but they were quite efficient at doing it. The only thing they could possibly used was more offensive potency, though they got quite a bit of that from the high-flying "Skywalker" Malone, the ably athletic Michael Lee, the fundamentally sound Jack Wayans, and the sharp shooting of Andreas Kitsu and Aina La'ia (probably the only non-confrontational players on the team, along with the quiet and polite Wayans, who still is not afraid to bang down low despite his respectful demeanor). Their offensive style was slow and prodding, almost meticulous and repetitive, with a focus on inside/outside ball movement, pick-and-rolls and screens for midrange shots. But even if they didn't score all that much, as long as they continued to prevent the other team from scoring, they maintained their status as one of the leagues most formidable and successful clubs.
After the 2010-2011 season owner Bob Gale decided it was time to move on, having owned the team since the expansion. He had been actively courted by British Football owner Bernard Dwight since the 2010 championship. After a long season, he finally relented, signing a stipulation into the terms of sale that Dwight would need need to build a new stadium, and that the team could not leave South Dakota for minimum of five years. A side effect of the change at the top, Dwight brought in former Plymouth Taproots star Vicki Turner as GM starting with the 2011-2012 season. Since her retirement in 1990 she'd been a television commentator for the FBA in the UK. Turner had numerous doubters that the commentator would be able to be a solid GM, but a solid draft night as her first day on the job dulled the complaints. The season proved to be fruitful; with minimal roster tweaking Coach Kurt O'Malley led the Bikers to a conference championship and another FBA Finals.
The 2012 off season would show more significant change, starting with a double press conference to announce the construction starting on Sofawolf Stadium and the retirement of Coach O'Malley, and hiring of former Chinese National Team Coach Ning Fenwatcher. That conference with Dwight and Turner trading the microphone and Commissioner Sterne Davids in attendance clearly marked the end of the previous era of the Dakota Bikers, and ushered in a new era. Just under three months later an even larger bombshell happened in yet another press conference, as a landmark three team trade with the newly renamed Biloxi Voodoo and newly relocated San Jose Thrust saw the defensive minded Fritz Jansen and star bruiser Steven Munt shipped out for the sharpshooting Blythe Nacht and superstar Buck Hopper. Turner was not finished with her restructuring, as another trade saw Dat Mongoste and Aaron Murray traded to Kansas City for their #5 draft pick in that year's draft. That was then bundled with the #19 pick and traded to Lorain for the #2 overall draft pick. Quickly working to acquire Daniel Quvianuq with said pick, the Bikers had the tallest and most imposing Center in the league and the best backcourt. 2012-2013 was set to be a very special year.
Unfortunately, it kicked off with a preseason injury, setting back Daniel's progress as the bear was knocked out for the entire year.
Rookie Dylan Readfield proved to be a young starling in the making, earning a starting position and having his name throw around for rookie of the year contention. However, his emotions got the better of him, and an alternation with veteran Shane Rufus scared the rookie's first season. The entire incident, known as the Incident at Howlers Stadium earned the rookie a 40 game suspension (later reduced to 20) and a post-season awards ban.
With the team finally getting its bearings, the Dakota Bikers made the playoffs with the second best record in the west that year (placed 4th as they were behind the Voyagers.) After a first round playoff win, the Bikers came back down 3 games to 1 to defeat Winnipeg in 7 games. With wins in the conference finals over Edmonton- the Bikers met Tallahassee Typhoons in the Finals. On July 29, 2013 with the Dakota Bikers defeated the Tallahassee Typhoons in six games to win the 2013 FBA Finals.
A New Start
After the disappointing and scandal-filled 2013-14 season and the first round elimination to the Edmonton Totems, Bernard Dwight cleaned house, firing everyone in the front office. Vicki Turner has been invited to join the staff of the Spokane Rapids (now the Seattle Summit), and Ning Fenwatcher retired after his medical issues made it clear he was unable to continue coaching.
Former assistant GM Manuel Katz was called in as a temporary replacement during the 2014 offseason. Katz stabilized the team, even going so far as managing to secure Dylan Redfield's position on the team with a new contract. Katz was unwilling to take on the position full time, so Dwight looked to Ben Bracy, whose unorthodox promotional antics and marketing schemes would bring quite the ruckus to Sioux Falls. Bud Boorman, a Dakotan coach favorite from the collegiate scene, was brought in as Head Coach a few days later.
The team itself would be without the talents of Jeri Naranjo, Dan Quvianuq, and Barnaby Jazz - and with Jack Wayans retiring but staying with the team as an Assistant Coach - one could only see that a new era was beginning for this historic team...
Unfortunately, new staff and personnel changes was not enough to halt the sinking ship. Over the next three seasons, the team slowly descended further and further down the standings. They still had star talent, with Dylan Redfield, Fenruss Brylee, and of course Ryan Malone heading the ship. And 2015-2016 looked like it might be a chance to turn it around after managing to re-sign Catherine DeMille in the Free Agency period and adding depth from the 2015 Draft with Matthew Silvius and Brian Montgomery III. They still struggled, finishing with a record worse than the previous season, but managed to slide into the playoffs as the 8th seed from the West. There they showed one last spark of life as they upset the 1 Seeded, and defending FBA Champion, Santa Ana Spectrums in the first round. That was the last real spark from this iteration of the roster, however, as they failed to move further in the playoffs and were forced to watch as Fenruss Brylee left during Free Agency for the Las Vegas Wildcards. It was an ominous sign as to what was to come the following season.
The 2017 Season saw the dynasty truly come to a close as they hit rock bottom, a last-place finish in the Western Conference with Plymouth being the only team with a worse record in the entire league. As to what caused the once dominant Bikers to collapse was up for debate. With the loss of Fenruss Brylee they were forced to play Dylan Redfield out of position as their starting Power Forward, which often created poor matchups for the deer. Another concern was the decline of their franchise player Ryan Malone, who missed 13 games due to injury and saw his efficiency start to decline. Whatever the cause, or the compounding factors that led to it, the abysmal showing forced another shakeup in the Front Office with the firing of Ben Bracy and Bud Boorman.
Alexander Whitaker was brought in as the new General Manager, a former scout for the Bikers who had left in 2012 to become the Director of Player Personal for the Bangor Tides. The arctic fox inherited a team who was far from its former glory, but he had two big positives on his side. One, the majority of the cap was available as few players were under contract; and two, the Bikers had the 1st Pick in the 2017 FBA Draft.
Putting a trade package together with his former employer, Whitaker sent Cassidy Whitelatch and the 1st overall pick to the Bangor Tides for the 7th pick and Benjamin Durby the night of the 2017 FBA Draft. The move drew criticism, from fans and analysts, especially since Catherine DeMille had announced her retirement earlier in Free Agency and the evential number 1 pick was a potential replacement for her. But Whitaker had his own plan in mind, grabbing Jaylen Rose, a top 3 rookie who had fallen all the way down to the seventh pick. Not long after Matthew Silvius agreed to a two-year deal, which may have played a factor in the eventual signing of Jonathan Lawyer signed not long after. The final big piece was the return of Dylan Redfield, who was once again the subject of a bidding war in Deercision2.0.
The notable name missing from the new Bikers team was veteran and franchise player Ryan Malone. In a controversial move, the fox only offered Malone a probable bench role and equivalent pay. Justifiably angry at the organization that he had given his all to, Malone left the team that had drafted him so many years ago to join the Las Vegas Wildcards. It was a risk, fans outraged at the loss of their franchise player and even the owner was breathing down the fox's neck. The only way to sate them was to return to their winning ways, they would not have to wait long.
By January 5th the Bikers were 26-4, already matching the number of wins from there disastrous 2016-17 Season, and generated two All-Stars in Matthew Silvius and Jonathan Lawyer. If not for a broken clavicle sidelining Matthew Silvius, the Bikers were on track to challenge Bangor and Seattle for the best record in the league.
San Jose Thrust
Season by Season Records
- 2009-2010 - 57-23
- 2010-2011 - 67-13 (Conf: 46-10, Div: 20-4) (Home: 34-6, Away: 33-7) (Longest Winning Streak (21), Won Midwest Division, Best Record in Western Conference)
- 2011-2012 - 59-21 (Conf: 40-16, Div: 18-6) (Home: 32-8, Away: 27-13) (Longest Winning Streak (18), Won Midwest Division, Won Western Conference, Best Record in Western Conference)
- 2012-2013 - 58-22 (Conf: 40-16, Div: 16-8) (Home: 33-7, Away: 25-15) (Won Western Conference, Won FBA Championship)
- 2013-2014 - 45-35 (Conf: 26-30, Div: 7-17) (Home: 26-14, Away: 19-21)
- 2014-2015 - 41-39 (Conf: 31-25, Div: 14-10)
- 2015-2016 - 32-32 (Conf: 19-21, Div: 13-11)
- 2016-2017 - 26-54 (Conf: 18-38, Div: 7-17)
- 2017-2018 - 57-23 (Conf: 39-17, Div: 20-4) (Home: 31-9, Away: 26-14) (Won Midwest Division, Won FBA Championship)
- 2018-2019 - 68-12 (Conf: 50-6, Div: 23-1) (Home: 36-4, Away: 32-8) (Won Midwest Division, Best Record in Western Conference, Best Record in FBA)
- 2019-2020 - 59-21 (Conf: 41-15, Div: 20-4) (Home: 34-6, Away: 25-15) (Won Midwest Division)
- 2020-2021 - 52-28 (Conf: 35-21, Div: 21-3) (Home: 34-6, Away: 18-22) (Won Midwest Division, Best Record in Western Conference, Best Record in FBA)
Records, Retired Numbers & Awards
- Yet to be Determined
- Manuel Katz – 1988
- Toby Papanastasopoulos – 2010
- Matthew Silvius - 2017
- Kurt O'Malley - 2008
Retired Jersey Numbers
- Ryan Malone (Kangaroo, G) - 24
- Stugis Stadium (1979-2013)
- Sofawolf Stadium (2013-present)
Main page: Dakota Bikers all-time Roster
- Jack Wayans & Ryan Malone (???-2008)
- Ryan Malone (2008-2012)
- Ryan Malone & Buck Hopper (2012-2014)
- Ryan Malone (2014-2017)
- Dylan Redfield (2017-2019)
- Matthew Silvius (2019-present)
Full Roster Stats
- Kurt O'Malley (???-2012)
- Ning Fenwatcher (2012-2014)
- Bud Boorman (2014-2017)
- Gregory Lincoln (2017-2021)
- Erik Devlin (2021-present)
- Jim Clemens (???-2014)
- Jack Wayans (2014-present)
- Lead Trainer: Troy Falders (???-2014)
Logos and Uniforms
- Bob Gale (1980-2012)
- Bernard Dwight (2012-present)
- Girb Schmidt (???-2012)
- Vicki Turner (2012-2014)
- Manuel Katz (2014)
- Ben Bracy (2014-2017)
- Alexander Whitaker (2017-present)