JORDAN, Minn. (KMSP) - Friends, teammates and family gathered at New Hope Lutheran Church in Jordan, Minn. Tuesday to say their final goodbyes to Todd Oakes, the University of Minnesota Gophers baseball pitching coach who died last week at the age of 55. Oakes had been battling leukemia for more than four years.
Oakes had a sign in his office that read: "Cherish every day you put the uniform on." As his loved ones celebrated his life, his players also hope to make him proud again.
The past few weeks have been an emotional rollercoaster for the team. The Gophers won the Big Ten regular season championship and brought the trophy to Oakes at his home. However, they lost in the Big Ten Tournament the day T.O. passed away.
But the day before the funeral, the team was selected to the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2010 and they know T.O. will be with them, putting on the maroon and gold uniform.
The Gophers will face Wake Forest University Friday in the College Station Regional in Texas. It is a four-team tournament and the winner goes to the Super Regionals.
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