Mike Dragosavich has been working his tail off for the past seven years, developing and expanding businesses in Fargo. He publishes four magazines, has a clothing line and an e-commerce store. He's active in the local advertising organization, hires local talent, and can't do enough to convince others how great it is to live and thrive in North Dakota. As long as he stays around here, he'll probably be as well known as Drago the punter on the North Dakota State University football team, 2004-2007, including his role in one of the early wins against a big dog, the University of Minnesota, and two years trying to make a pro team. He's a genuinely nice guy, kind, goofy, creative and energetic. His own bio on one of his social media pages sums it up: "Email me if you need something or just want to arm wrestle."
Going off into the NFL was a couple years of struggle. I got further than most, but didn't get the whole way. It was a huge learning experience for me.
When I was with the Colts, I was there for six months in the off season. I'd go work out until about 10 and then I'd have from 10 until the next day. So I had my computer and I just started my own blog, and I just fell in love with researching business and creating my own business and all that kind of stuff.
When I finally hung it up and said I need to move on from football I came immediately back to Fargo, no hesitation, because of how much support not only people at NDSU and the NDSU fans have for the sport but also just the different community people I've met along the way, how just caring they are. It really is a black and white deal from where I came from on the south side of Chicago.
The first thing I ever did was I started a little VIP card called FM Spotlight VIP card. I called on fifty different businesses and signed them up. It ended up being pretty successful but found out it wasn't a sustainable business model so I'd have one month where I'd make some money and the next month I'd make none and you have no idea what the heck's going to happen.
Along the way, I created fmspotlight.com which was a way for me to put down all of my different specials for the different people who owned the cards but then I also really wanted to expose the different events and music in the area because I've always thought that this place had amazing entertainment options.
The first magazine was the size of a CD case and that was all I could afford. I ended up spelling a word wrong on the cover of my first magazine, which was devastating but it was actually equally entertaining because it was supposed to say Helping Fargo-Moorhead Enjoy, Save and Grow and ended up leaving out the "j"in enjoy so it said Helping Fargo-Moorhead Enoy, Save and Grow. I had an army of people proofread the thing, too, I was so nervous; of course. Passed the first one out and somebody says 'do you realize there is a word spelled wrong?' It almost took me down.
I wasn't the best student on earth, I'll tell you that right now. When people read that they'll start laughing. It's just crazy looking back how much you don't know when you're there.
When I was 18, if you had told me I'd be in Fargo, then the NFL, then a magazine, it just blows my mind just thinking about it.
I know a lot of people say how can you juggle sports and academics? I kind of say how can you not? Your butt's on the line if you don't go to class and get your stuff done.
To this day the single greatest memory of my whole life came from that game we won. Because the game we beat Minnesota, in the punting world - we were up by four with a minute left. And I had to punt. This would have given them the ball and given them a minute to come down and potentially score and win the game. A minute in college football is an eternity, because they stop the clock every time you get a first down. I did what's equivalent to scoring a game winning touchdown for a punter, which was they came in and brought the blitz trying to block it and the guy missed me but I went down screaming like he hit my leg, like he just tore my leg off, right, hoping to get that penalty flag, that roughing the kicker. And they ended up throwing it. So we got a first down, kneed the ball, won the game.
Didn't get hit, no. I sold it like an actor. I feel like if I wouldn't have done that, they could have had a chance to win it and that was one of the biggest victories we've ever had, you know with all the fans there, 30,000 fans.
The nice part of punting, it's such a muscle memory thing. You can basically do it blindfolded because you just do it over and over and over again. You end up kind of blacking out because it's so fast.
I used to hold for field goals and that's even worse. That to me was more nerve wracking than punting.
I hit a cheerleader in the face with a shanked punt in Northern Colorado. It was my first year punting, it just went right off the side of my foot.
The one time the coach really got into me was because we were up by like forty and I figure I'm not going to punt any more, it's the fourth quarter, we've got our third stringers in, I'm just kind of hanging out, and we're getting ready to be done with it. Sitting around chatting and their quarterback throws an interception for a touchdown, and so I've got to go hold for a field goal out of nowhere, and I can't find my helmet. He has to call a time out. I still can't find it, so I have to take one of the lineman's helmets that doesn't even fit, I've got to hold it up with one hand.