Welcome to the CobberSID’s New Year’s resolution! Like all good adults (do kids ever make New Year’s resolutions?), I’ve decided to try and be a better person in 2014. In the SID world this means posting more stories, videos or both. Since it’s been awhile since I’ve written something that wasn’t a recap, postseason award release or preseason preview, I thought I would re-hone my mediocre skills as a writer.
My New Year’s resolution will either be music to the ears of Cobber fans everywhere, or more likely the sound of a giant fork scraping against the front teeth of the Concordia sports world.
I decided to start of the year by tackling something which would be highly debatable and might strike a nerve with some die-hard Cobber fans. What better way to stir the pot than to name a Mount Rushmore of Cobber Athletics.
I admit that trying to narrow down all the great athletes, coaches and administrators who have graced the Concordia campus to a mere four is a little daunting but I think my choices will have merit. Remember, this is not an official list or release from the Concordia Athletic Department – it is just one person’s opinion. And hopefully it will get you to think about other great Cobbers who could be on the list.
My Mount Rushmore of Cobber Athletics would be situated in the face of Olin Hill (the highest natural elevation point in Moorhead) and feature Jake Christiansen, Irv Christenson, Jessica Rahman and Chris Coste.
The first two on the list are the “no brainers”. Jake Christiansen was the coach who started the tradition of Cobber football. He coached for 28 years and when he retired in 1969 he was the winningest active coach in all of college football – all divisions. He conceived and planned Memorial Auditorium and the football stadium is named after him. In Division III sports if you have a stadium named after you, and you didn’t donate millions of dollars, you were pretty important to the school.
Some people might have only heard of Irv Christenson if they run around Concordia’s track and see his name under the north bleachers. While, Jake Christiansen transformed the Cobber football team, Irv Christenson was the administrator that set the tone for the entire athletic and health and physical education departments for 30 years. He was the Athletic Director and Chair of the Health and Physical Education Department at Concordia from 1946-76. When he joined Concordia in 1946, the college only offered a minor in physical education. He persevered and wound up developing one of the largest majors on campus.
There is a reason Jake and Irv were the first two inductees into the Concordia Athletic Hall of Fame. They will be the cornerstones in the CobberSID Mount Rushmore of Cobber Athletics.
The final two choices would be the most debatable but in my book they represent the past and future of Cobber athletics.
Jessica Rahman is the face of Cobber women’s athletics. Joan Hult started women’s athletics at Concordia and Collette Folstad started the basketball program – which has been the most successful of all the Concordia women’s athletic teams – but it was Jessica Rahman who helped engineer the only NCAA team champion in school history and it is Jessica Rahman who is the current mentor for the program.
Rahman’s numbers as an athlete are ridiculous. The only thing fans need to know is that she still holds the Cobber career scoring record – by over 300 points. No one has come within 450 points of her mark in the past 25 years. And she did all that without the aid of the 3-point field goal. And to make it even more impressive, she rarely played a full game because the Cobbers were so dominant they were usually boatracing their opponents by huge margins and she would sit on the bench for the second half.
Rahman was a four-time All-American, was named the Division III Female Athlete of the Year and was an NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship winner. Those awards are tops for any women’s athlete in the history of Concordia athletics
She traded in her playing high tops for coaching dress shoes and has become the all-time winningest coach in the history of basketball at Concordia. She also has the highest winning percentage of any active coach currently in Cobberville.
Rahman doesn’t show any signs of slowing down either. She will have a daughter at Concordia next year which means Rahman will be around for another four years at least. Like her playing records, she will set coaching records that will never be broken.
The fourth member of the CobberSID Mount Rushmore was the greatest athlete I ever witnessed in person at Concordia in the past 20 years. An athlete like Chris Coste will never come again in my lifetime. He was a three-time MIAC MVP and a three-time All-American. No other athlete at Concordia can have those words typed after his name.
Oh, and one more thing that will never be typed after a former Cobbers’ name – World Series Champion. Many other former Concordia athletes have gone on to play in the “pros” and some have had successful careers but no other former athlete has ever won a major title.
Coste’s Concordia career batting average of .442 will never be touched and he still owns school records for career hits and runs scored and total bases in a single season. In 1994 he hit a ludicrous .491. C’mon, who hits .491 over a whole season? For you youngsters who think Coste was just a hitting machine, guess again. He still holds the school record for career earned run average. Over his three years he pitched in 38 games and had a 2.11 ERA. In 1995 he had seven wins and seven saves and had a 1.29 ERA. Coste also hit .484 that year and had nine home runs and drove in 41 runs.
Not only was Coste “sick” as an individual player, he also helped his team win MIAC championships. In his three seasons in Cobberville he helped CC win 46 league games and earn two MIAC titles.
And did we mention that he played professionally for 16 seasons and owns a World Series ring?
Like Rahman, Coste has come back home and is in position to guide the Cobber baseball program into the next generation. He will take over for Bucky Burgau in 2015 and like Rahman, I have a feeling he will finish his coaching career with several school records.
So there you have it, Christiansen, Christensen, Rahman and Coste – the Mount Rushmore of Cobber Athletics.
Let the debating begin! Feel free to leave a comment about your Cobber Mount Rushmore.
In the coming weeks I will be doing specific Mount Rushmores for only athletes, coaches and administrators. I will also hand out the honorable mention Mount Rushmore awards for those athletes, coaches and administrators who were a close fifth, sixth and seventh.