Reusse: St. Olaf's 'Koz' has name recognition; hungers for MIAC basketball title

  • Article by: PATRICK REUSSE , Star Tribune
  • Updated: February 13, 2014 - 7:04 AM

St. Olaf’s chances at a first MIAC regular-season title took a big hit Wednesday, but coach Dan Kosmoski will keep trying.

– St. Olaf eased away from St. John’s down the stretch for a 72-61 road victory on Saturday afternoon. Oles basketball coach Dan Kosmoski detoured to Minneapolis on the return trip to join Clem Haskins and a number of former Gophers for a 25-year reunion of the 1989 Sweet 16 team.

All in all, that made Saturday a very good day for Kosmoski, the basketball man who started as a standout player for Owatonna High School, sat on the bench as a walk-on with the great Gophers team of 1976-77, got into coaching as an assistant for Flip Saunders at Golden Valley Lutheran J.C., and served nine years as an assistant to Jim Dutcher and Haskins with the Gophers.

Dave Buss, a coach with a Division I résumé, left St. Olaf in the spring of 1994 and Kosmoski was hired as his replacement. He’s still with the Oles 20 seasons later, which remarkably puts him only fourth on the MIAC seniority list behind St. John’s Jim Smith (50 seasons), Carleton’s Guy Kalland (30) and Gustavus Adolphus’ Mark Hanson (24).

Bob Gelle was the coach preceding Buss at St. Olaf. His good work over 22 seasons led the Oles to add “Bob Gelle Court’’ to the title inside the school’s Skoglund Center.

Kosmoski has a different sort of distinction. He has been around long enough and has been attached to enough important figures that “Koz’’ is the only identification required with a Minnesota hoops crowd.

Exchange messages with Ellen, his wife for a quarter century, and the references to her husband come back as “Koz.’’

Asked if he could have envisioned himself being at St. Olaf for two decades, Kosmoski said: “It’s a different mentality from Division I … a different realism as to what education is, what it’s supposed to be. All of our guys, at St. Olaf and in this conference, are going to be in the workforce. That’s where our athletes are going to be influential.

“I’ve been blessed to be here. Hopefully, I have a few years to go yet.’’

There is a void from a competitive standpoint in Kosmoski’s résumé.

The Oles have not won an MIAC title in the regular season or the postseason playoffs. St. Olaf’s top finishes with Koz have been a pair of thirds, in 1998 and 2012.

Until this winter.

On Wednesday night, St. Thomas brought a 15-1 record and a first-place standing onto Bob Gelle Court. St. Olaf was waiting with a 14-2 record. This was the big shot for Koz and his 20th collection of Oles.

The opportunity passed. The Tommies came out much more equipped for the full-contact style permitted by the officiating crew and built a 28-14 lead late in the first half. St. Olaf rallied and had the lead down to two in the final minute, but the Tommies prevailed 55-51.

St. Thomas now leads by two games with three to play in the MIAC schedule. The Tommies got it done on this night by giving great attention to Connor Gunderson, the Oles’ leading scorer, holding him to five points.

“That was an outstanding effort by two really good defensive teams,” Kosmoski said.

“When you hold a team to 55 points, you’re usually going to win.”

Kosmoski’s familiarity with St. Thomas isn’t limited to the Tommies’ dynastic hold on the MIAC, first with Steve Fritz and now Johnny Tauer. For 14 years, Koz ran the Clem Haskins Summer Camp at St. Thomas.

“One Twenty-Five Dowling Hall … I was there for four weeks every summer,’’ Kosmoski said. “Add it up: four weeks, 14 summers, 56 weeks. I told Clem on Saturday, ‘Your camps cost me a year of my life.’ ’’

Kosmoski understood the potential of this season’s club with eight seniors and a roster that would enable him to go a dozen deep.

“We have 12 guys who have played in 20 games,” he said. “We’ve been getting contributions from players 8 to 12 in our rotation.’’

The MIAC’s 20-game conference season leaves room for only a handful of nonconference games. Kosmoski tested this group with three away games against nationally rated teams — including No. 1 Wisconsin-Stevens Point — in a five-day period in late November.

“We lost to Stevens Point and Augustana [Ill.], and beat [Wisconsin-] Platteville, and I thought it gave extra toughness to this team,” Kosmoski said. “Our guys liked the challenge. They have had a good time trying to put everything together as a team.’’

The Oles hope to get another chance to demonstrate that to the Tommies in a possible MIAC playoff final in early March.

 

Patrick Reusse can be heard 3-6 p.m. weekdays on AM-1500. preusse@startribune.com

  • related content

  • St. Olaf basketball coach Dan Kosmoski felt the pain of missing out on the chance to lead the Oles into first place in the MIAC.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

NY Mets - LP: J. Familia 6 FINAL
Miami - WP: A. Ramos 9
Philadelphia - WP: C. Hamels 7 FINAL
Atlanta - LP: J. Teheran 0
Boston - LP: B. Badenhop 3 FINAL
Tampa Bay - WP: G. Balfour 4
Minnesota - WP: P. Hughes 6 FINAL
Baltimore - LP: K. Gausman 4
Pittsburgh - LP: G. Cole 4 FINAL
St. Louis - WP: S. Maness 5
Milwaukee - LP: J. Nelson 2 FINAL
Chicago Cubs - WP: J. Turner 4
Detroit - WP: D. Price 12 FINAL
Cleveland - LP: C. Kluber 1
Seattle - LP: C. Young 1 FINAL
Oakland - WP: J. Hammel 6
San Francisco - WP: J. Affeldt 4 FINAL
Colorado - LP: C. Friedrich 2
Arizona - LP: T. Cahill 1 FINAL
San Diego - WP: T. Ross 3
San Francisco 8 Top 9th Inning
Colorado 9
Washington 3 Top 4th Inning
Los Angeles 2
Texas 0 Top 5th Inning
Kansas City 4
Green Bay 9/4/14 7:30 PM
Seattle
Buffalo 9/7/14 12:00 PM
Chicago
New Orleans 9/7/14 12:00 PM
Atlanta
Minnesota 9/7/14 12:00 PM
St. Louis
Cleveland 9/7/14 12:00 PM
Pittsburgh
Jacksonville 9/7/14 12:00 PM
Philadelphia
Oakland 9/7/14 12:00 PM
NY Jets
Cincinnati 9/7/14 12:00 PM
Baltimore
Washington 9/7/14 12:00 PM
Houston
Tennessee 9/7/14 12:00 PM
Kansas City
New England 9/7/14 12:00 PM
Miami
Carolina 9/7/14 3:25 PM
Tampa Bay
San Francisco 9/7/14 3:25 PM
Dallas
Indianapolis 9/7/14 7:30 PM
Denver
Utah State 7 FINAL
Tennessee 38
SMU 0 FINAL
(10) Baylor 45
Miami-Florida 7 2nd Qtr 7:18
Louisville 7
Arizona 9/4/14 7:00 PM
TX-San Antonio
Pittsburgh 9/5/14 6:00 PM
Boston College
Washington St 9/5/14 9:30 PM
Nevada
SMU 9/6/14 11:00 AM
North Texas
Fla Atlantic 9/6/14 11:00 AM
(2) Alabama
Buffalo 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Army
(24) Missouri 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Toledo
Arkansas State 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Tennessee
(7) McNeese State 9/6/14 11:00 AM
(22) Nebraska
Central Mich 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Purdue
Akron 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Penn State
Western Ill 9/6/14 11:00 AM
(14) Wisconsin
(20) Kansas State 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Iowa State
(4) Oklahoma 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Tulsa
Western Ky 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Illinois
SC State 9/6/14 11:30 AM
(16) Clemson
Navy 9/6/14 12:00 PM
Temple
UAB 9/6/14 1:00 PM
Miss State
South Alabama 9/6/14 1:00 PM
Kent State
New Mexico St 9/6/14 1:00 PM
Georgia State
Colorado 9/6/14 2:00 PM
Massachusetts
Fresno State 9/6/14 2:00 PM
Utah
(2) Eastern Wash 9/6/14 2:00 PM
(25) Washington
(15) USC 9/6/14 2:30 PM
(11) Stanford
Ohio U 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Kentucky
Middle Tennessee 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Minnesota
Northern Ill 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Northwestern
Missouri State 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Oklahoma State
Ball State 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Iowa
Maryland 9/6/14 2:30 PM
So Florida
Eastern Mich 9/6/14 3:00 PM
Florida
Georgia Tech 9/6/14 3:00 PM
Tulane
(18) Ole Miss 9/6/14 3:30 PM
Vanderbilt
Old Dominion 9/6/14 5:00 PM
NC State
(8) Michigan State 9/6/14 5:30 PM
(3) Oregon
(19) Arizona State 9/6/14 6:00 PM
New Mexico
Louisiana Tech 9/6/14 6:00 PM
Louisiana
San Jose St 9/6/14 6:00 PM
(6) Auburn
East Carolina 9/6/14 6:00 PM
(9) So Carolina
Duke 9/6/14 6:00 PM
Troy
Idaho 9/6/14 6:00 PM
ULM
(15) Sam Houston St 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(13) LSU
Michigan 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(17) Notre Dame
Lamar 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(21) Texas A&M
Northwestern St 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(10) Baylor
BYU 9/6/14 6:30 PM
Texas
Citadel 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(1) Florida State
San Diego St 9/6/14 7:00 PM
(23) North Carolina
Virginia Tech 9/6/14 7:00 PM
(5) Ohio State
Memphis 9/6/14 9:00 PM
(7) UCLA
Colorado State 9/6/14 9:15 PM
Boise State
Air Force 9/6/14 9:15 PM
Wyoming
Oregon State 9/6/14 9:30 PM
Hawaii
Texas Tech 9/6/14 10:00 PM
Texas-El Paso
Ottawa 10 FINAL
Montreal 20
Winnipeg 30 FINAL
Saskatchewan 35
Toronto 12 FINAL
Hamilton 13
Edmonton 13 FINAL
Calgary 28
Indiana 84 FINAL
Chicago 86
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

Date/Opponent Time W L Score
2014 season     
Aug 28 - vs. E. Illinois 6 pmX42-20
Sep 6 - vs. M. Tennessee St. 2:30 pm
Sep 13 - at TCU 3 pm
Sep 20 - vs. San Jose St. TBA
Sep 27 - at Michigan TBA
Oct 11 - vs. Northwestern TBA
Oct 18 - vs. Purdue 11 am
Oct 25 - at Illinois 11 am
Nov 8 - vs. Iowa TBA
Nov 15 - vs. Ohio State TBA
Nov 22 - at Nebraska TBA
Nov 29 - at Wisconsin TBA

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Grade the Gophers in their season opener

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close