CHICAGO — David Cobb began last season as Minnesota’s third-string running back. But when he got an opportunity in the first game of the season, he seized it. Starting running back Donnell Kirkwood sprained his ankle against Nevada-Las Vegas, and Cobb came into the game and rattled off a 60-yard run. After leapfrogging Kirkwood and Rodrick Williams at the position, Cobb kicks off this season as Minnesota’s go-to guy in the backfield.
Bob McNamara, an All-America football player and an influential Gophers fundraiser, died on Sunday night at age 82 after a battle with cancer. McNamara played both football and basketball for the University of Minnesota in the 1950s, but his influence in the athletics department spanned long after that. Athletics director Norwood Teague said in a statement that the University “had no greater advocate” than McNamara.
When it comes to hockey, it’s safe to say Megan Bozek knows what she’s talking about. The defenseman captained the Gophers to a NCAA title in 2013 and won an Olympic silver medal in 2014 for Team USA. Bozek was back in Minnesota last week as part of a multi-state coaching tour for Pro Ambitions Hockey. From July 14-18, Bozek was in Blaine, Minn., leading a camp open to children and teens ages 6-18. Despite her credentials, Bozek still has to prove herself on the ice to the groups of up-and-coming hockey players.
Gophers middle blocker Hannah Tapp traded her maroon and gold for red, white and blue for nearly two weeks in June. Tapp, a rising sophomore, toured China with the United States Collegiate National Team from June 17–27. The trip included a mixture of volleyball and sightseeing. The games were at night, Tapp said, which left days to see places like Sanming and Beijing. Highlights for her included the Forbidden City and the Great Wall of China.
For many golfers, the U.S. Open is a distant dream. Two former Gophers, Clayton Rask and Donald Constable, both experienced that dream last weekend. Rask, 29, finished tied for 63rd, and Constable missed the cut, but even though neither golfer came close to top finisher Martin Kaymer, the Open marked the first major for both golfers and was a memorable experience. Constable, 25, played his first season on the PGA Tour last year, but his weekend in Pinehurst, N.C., was a new experience for him.
The men’s track and field team sent five athletes to the NCAA championships, and all five are returning as All-Americans. Sophomore Wally Ellenson and seniors John Simons and Zach Siegmeier earned First Team All-American honors while junior Dominique Howard and senior Jon Lehman earned second team honors. Ellenson set a personal record in the high jump en route to a second-place finish. The Gophers also had fifth, seventh, ninth and tenth place finishes at the championships.
Social media isn’t just popular among University of Minnesota students. Some Gophers coaches are taking to Twitter to promote their team, build their personal brand and interact with their fans, among other things. The Minnesota Daily talked to four Gophers head coaches to discuss how they use Twitter and how it impacts their teams.
Two former Gophers golfers qualified for the U.S. Open with their performances Monday. Donald Constable and Clayton Rask will participate in the tournament, which runs June 12–15 in Pinehurst, N.C. Constable shot 3-under-par with rounds of 72 and 69 at the Woodmont Country Club in Rockville, Md. Like Constable, Rask shot 69 and 72, finishing 3-under-par at the Emerald Valley Golf Course in Creswell, Ore. Rask tied for second at his local qualifying event in Prior Lake, Minn., on May 12 to advance to Oregon.
WILLMAR, Minn. — On the bench, Gophers men’s hockey head coach Don Lucia is known for his serious demeanor. But away from the ice, the coach’s intensity melts away. “Some people can see a different side of me — not the stiff and stoic guy behind the bench,” Lucia said. Gophers fans around the state were given the opportunity to get a more candid take of Lucia last weekend as part of the athletics department’s “Gopher Road Trip: Chalk Talk 2014,” which is in its second year.
A couple of years ago, Philip Nelson was a highly touted Gophers quarterback. Now, he’s awaiting trial for first- and third-degree assault. Nelson, who transferred to Rutgers in January, was arrested May 11 after his alleged involvement in an altercation that left another man in critical condition. According to a criminal complaint, Nelson allegedly kicked former Minnesota State-Mankato linebacker Isaac Kolstad in the head outside of Blue Bricks Bar and Eatery in Mankato.