Rand: Two bundles of joy for Southwest basketball coach

  • Article by: MICHAEL RAND , Star Tribune
  • Updated: February 14, 2012 - 7:02 AM

Southwest Minnesota State men's basketball coach won a big basketball game in St. Cloud Saturday night -- and, after some drama, got back to Marshall, 10 minute before the birth of his child.

Baby and basketball coincided for Southwest Minnesota State men’s coach Brad Bigler over the weekend.

Photo: , Courtesy Southwest Minnesota State

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

It's hard to imagine a buzzer-beater being connected to a 16-point basketball victory. Then again, it's hard to imagine the night Southwest Minnesota State men's basketball coach Brad Bigler had on Saturday.

With his wife, Heather, less than two weeks away from the due date for the couple's third child, Bigler had a choice this past weekend: take the team bus for a pair of games at Concordia (St. Paul) and St. Cloud State or stay home. A checkup with their doctor Friday morning revealed no changes in Heather's status.

"I thought, 'I should be OK,' " Bigler said.

Fast-forward to around 7 p.m. Saturday -- halftime of the game in St. Cloud -- when Heather, two hours away in Marshall, started having contractions. By the time the game was over, with the Division II Mustangs having secured their fourth consecutive victory and first over a top-25 team in nearly two years, Heather was on her way to the hospital. And Bigler, along with five in-laws (siblings and parents) who were at the game, piled into a truck and started speeding back home. When Heather had Nash, 2 -- now the middle child of three along with Taleigha, 3, and newborn Drake -- she was only at the hospital for about two hours before delivery.

"We were pretty concerned we weren't going to make it back in time," Bigler said. "I was sitting in the back seat. I get motion sickness, so I was just trying to relax."

That became harder when, about 45 minutes outside of Marshall, the vehicle was pulled over for speeding.

"Before [the police officer] could even read the license from my father-in-law, my sisters-in-law are yelling, 'We're having a baby! We're having a baby!' " Bigler said. "The cop looks up and says, 'Right now? Who's having a baby?' "

With the story straight, the officer ushered the crew on its way. They arrived at the hospital at 10 p.m. -- around the same time as Dr. Jill Vroman, the team doctor who was also in St. Cloud for the game before rushing back on the same path.

"She still had her Southwest Minnesota T-shirt on. She said, 'Good game,' and then Heather's water broke pretty much right there," Bigler said. "About 10 minutes later, at 10:18, the baby was born."

It was a happy ending to an emotionally charged night -- and a peak of what Bigler called a "roller coaster" of recent emotions. Bigler's mother, Diane Bigler-Hagenow, died last summer in a kayaking accident at which Brad was also present. Bigler, an Iowa native who was a player and assistant coach at SMSU before taking over the program in 2009, has pulled through with community support.

"I've been pretty blessed to be around a lot of good people," he said. "Southwest has been very kind to me."

With Heather -- a former SMSU volleyball player -- and Drake home from the hospital Monday, Bigler can turn his attention to the home stretch and his team's drive to reach the NCAA tournament. That's a different kind of berth and only the second-most important one he might witness this year.


  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions


Buffalo 12/28/14 12:00 PM
New England
Cleveland 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Dallas 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Indianapolis 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Jacksonville 12/28/14 12:00 PM
San Diego 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Kansas City
NY Jets 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Chicago 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Philadelphia 12/28/14 12:00 PM
NY Giants
New Orleans 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Carolina 12/28/14 3:25 PM
Detroit 12/28/14 3:25 PM
Green Bay
Oakland 12/28/14 3:25 PM
Arizona 12/28/14 3:25 PM
San Francisco
St. Louis 12/28/14 3:25 PM
Cincinnati 12/28/14 7:30 PM
Brooklyn 109 FINAL
Boston 107
Cleveland 98 FINAL
Orlando 89
Indiana 109 FINAL
Detroit 119
Milwaukee 107 FINAL
Atlanta 77
Houston 117 FINAL
Memphis 111
San Antonio 90 FINAL
New Orleans 97
Charlotte 75 FINAL
Oklahoma City 98
LA Lakers 98 FINAL
Dallas 102
Minnesota 102 FINAL
Denver 106
Philadelphia 93 FINAL
Portland 114
Phoenix 115 FINAL
Sacramento 106
Illinois 18 FINAL
Louisiana Tech 35
Rutgers 40 FINAL
North Carolina 21
NC State 34 FINAL
UCF 27
Cincinnati 12:00 PM
Virginia Tech
(15) Arizona State 1:10 PM
Miami-Florida 2:30 PM
So Carolina
Boston College 3:30 PM
Penn State
(25) Nebraska 7:00 PM
(24) USC
Texas A&M 12/29/14 1:00 PM
West Virginia
Oklahoma 12/29/14 4:30 PM
(18) Clemson
Arkansas 12/29/14 8:00 PM
Notre Dame 12/30/14 2:00 PM
(22) LSU
(13) Georgia 12/30/14 5:45 PM
(20) Louisville
Maryland 12/30/14 9:00 PM
(9) Ole Miss 12/31/14 11:30 AM
(6) TCU
(21) Boise State 12/31/14 3:00 PM
(12) Arizona
(8) Miss State 12/31/14 7:00 PM
(10) Georgia Tech
(19) Auburn 1/1/15 11:00 AM
(17) Wisconsin
(7) Michigan State 1/1/15 11:30 AM
(4) Baylor
(16) Missouri 1/1/15 12:00 PM
(2) Florida State 1/1/15 4:00 PM
(3) Oregon
(5) Ohio State 1/1/15 7:30 PM
(1) Alabama
Houston 1/2/15 11:00 AM
Iowa 1/2/15 2:20 PM
(11) Kansas State 1/2/15 5:45 PM
(14) UCLA
Washington 1/2/15 9:15 PM
Oklahoma State
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters


Gophers Football Time W L Score
2014 season     
Aug 28 - vs. E. Illinois 6 pmX42-20
Sep 6 - vs. M. Tennessee St. 2:30 pmX35-24
Sep 13 - at TCU 3 pmX30-7
Sep 20 - vs. San Jose St. 3 p.m.X24-7
Sep 27 - at Michigan 2:30 pmX30-14
Oct 11 - vs. Northwestern 11 amX24-17
Oct 18 - vs. Purdue 11 amX39-38
Oct 25 - at Illinois 11 amX28-24
Nov 8 - vs. Iowa 11 amX51-14
Nov 15 - vs. Ohio State 11 amX31-24
Nov 22 - at Nebraska 11 amX28-24
Nov 29 - at Wisconsin 2:30 pmX34-24
Jan 1 - vs. Missouri noon




question of the day

Poll: What's your favorite Gophers football uniform colors?

Weekly Question