ST. PAUL, Minn. (KMSP) - Hearts are heavy at Hamline University and Concordia University-St. Paul after the sudden passing of a member of both athletic departments.
Jed Kosmoski, better known as Kos, touched the lives of many - from Minnesota Twins Hall of Famers to college athletes.
"Sports was everything to him," said his cousin, Matt Miller. "Just loved being a part of the guys and patting them on the back when they needed it and hated losing and loved winning."
High functioning with special needs Kos had a condition that stunted his growth, but he loved hanging with the big guys. After helping manage teams at Wayzata High School and Armstrong High School, Kos started volunteering with the baseball team at Concordia University and men's hockey team at Hamline University in the early 2000s.
"Every day we would come to the rink and he would do game day operations, making our life that much smoother,” said Hamline men's hockey team captain Mitch Hall. "You’d be coming to the rink after a bad day or a test didn’t go well, Kos would meet you at the door with a big hug. Maybe a fist bump, next thing you know, that’s out the window and you could focus on your game."
At Concordia, an 18-hour a week job was eventually created for Kos. Weight room manager quickly transformed into additional volunteer hours with just about every sport and traveled with the baseball team as special assistant to the head coach.
"Everybody loved Kos, he had so many jobs,” said Concordia Athletic Director and baseball coach Mark "Lunch" McKenzie. “People in the business office, he would take deposits for me. I could trust him with large amounts of money. They said he had a disability, well, he had abilities that far exceeded people with full physical abilities by far, by far and a heart bigger than Mount Everest."
In a Facebook post late last month, Kos shared his excitement to go visit his sister in Seattle. While on the trip, Kos came down with pancreatitis and died Saturday before he could return to the sports offices where he found purpose.
"I was in tears and I said, ‘Think of what the university did for Kos,’ and the human resource leader Melissa said ‘Think of what Kos did for this university,’” said McKenzie. “I said ‘You are right on.’ I miss my little buddy. Let’s put it that way. I miss my little buddy.”
Athletes on Hamline University’s men's hockey team plan to wear patches for Kos on their jerseys this season. Meanwhile, Concordia will add Kos’ name to batting cages already named for one of his closest friends who recently passed. More information on how you can help with that effort click here.