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Hopkins Coach Cosgriff to Make Decision

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March 16, 2020

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Hopkins girls’ basketball coach Brian Cosgriff told Sports Headliners he doesn’t know if he will be coaching next season. He has been the Royals head coach for 21 seasons, with seven state titles, 19 Lake Conference championships and 14 section titles.

Daughter Brooke is a senior at Hopkins and has been a reserve on a Hopkins team that won 62 consecutive games. Her college destination is yet to be determined and that was on dad’s mind when he talked about his future Saturday.

“I want to be around to follow her collegiate career, and if coaching doesn’t allow me to do that, I am going to have to have a serious conversation with myself and some people.” Cosgriff said. “But I haven’t made up my mind right now (about next year).”

Coach Cos, as he is known to so many admirers, has experienced so much emotion in 2020 including induction into the Minnesota High School Basketball Hall of Fame. In the last 12 months he’s had a dream run seeing his team win the 2019 Class 4A championship while coaching his daughter and a roster of talented and unselfish young athletes. That roster for several years has included Paige Bueckers, the do-it-all National Player of the Year, and perhaps the greatest girls basketball player in state history.

The winning streak, the 2020 journey to another state tournament, the joy of playing and coaching all came to an abrupt halt last week after the Royals had won their state tournament semifinal game. Because of the coronavirus threat, the Minnesota State High School League cancelled what would have been the 4A title game Saturday between Hopkins and Farmington. This week’s boys’ tournament is also cancelled and spring sports teams as of now are allowed to practice but not play games.

Seeing competition end on the court or fields is frustrating for all concerned. For the Royals and Farmington to stop playing one game short of determining a state champion prompts a lot of emotional pain. Cosgriff said his players were “crying their eyes out” when he told them the bad news.

The coach wanted to offer something to say that would console them. He and the players are used to fixing problems like watching film after games and correcting mistakes. All he could say to his players was to savor the journey they had experienced, and find joy and satisfaction in knowing each other and all they had achieved.

As of Saturday, though, Cosgriff and the Royals yearned for one more game, and another state title. Could something be worked out? “I haven’t been told anything,” the coach said. “At this point it’s cancelled. I haven’t been told that both teams will be crowned state champions, (or) there is a makeup date, or anything like that.”

Brian Cosgriff

On Sunday Governor Tim Walz announced all schools in the state, starting Wednesday, will be closed for at least eight days. Shortly afterward the announcement came that Hopkins schools are closed as of today. Saturday Cosgriff was struggling with two realities—his team couldn’t play for a championship they had been working for since last April, yet Hopkins and other schools were open.

Cosgriff understands what a serious situation the state and nation face. He gets it that people can become very ill and inevitably there will be lawsuits involving the coronavirus. So he understands the risks but just seeks some final answers even including a banquet to celebrate what has been achieved (the school district, he said, is discouraging banquets for its teams).

Cosgriff said, “I just want some of these questions answered. What’s the alternative here? Is it just done? Is that what it is?”

Worth Noting

NFL.com is reporting this morning Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins has agreed to a two-year contract extension with the team. No further details reported yet. Cousins was in the last year of his deal and earlier media reports said negotiations were stalled.

A college sports commissioner said the NCAA is deciding whether seniors who play spring sports will be granted another season of eligibility in 2021. The NCAA, like so many organizations across the country, has placed springs sport on hold for now.

The annual Minnesota Football Clinic for March 26-28 has been cancelled and the sponsoring Minnesota Football Coaches Association also announced that its March 28 banquet is postponed. Refund options are available for both the clinic and banquet.

Northfield author Patrick Mader has written another book on accomplished athletes from the state. More Minnesota Gold is devoted to 51 Minnesota athletes who competed in the Olympics, Paralympics, and World Championships. The 392-page full-color book includes a name index and city listing. Among the many names profiled are speed skater Amy Peterson who won three Olympic gold medals, and 1980 Miracle on Ice hockey player John Harrington.

Former Minnesota governor Arne Carlson talking yesterday on WCCO Radio about 100-year-old Sid Hartman’s impact on the state: “He is Mr. Sports. That’s all there is to it.”

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David Shama

David Shama is a former sports editor and columnist with local publications. His writing and reporting experiences include covering the Minnesota Vikings, Minnesota Twins, Minnesota Timberwolves and Minnesota Gophers. Shama’s career experiences also include sports marketing. He is the former Marketing Director of the Minnesota North Stars of the NHL. He is also the former Marketing Director of the United States Tennis Association’s Northern Section. A native of Minneapolis, Shama has been part of the community his entire life. He is a graduate of the University of Minnesota where he majored in journalism. He also has a Master’s degree in education from the University of St. Thomas. He was a member of the Governor’s NBA’s Task Force to help create interest in bringing pro basketball to town in the 1980s.

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