Gophers baseball coach stays on field amid 3rd cancer battle

Minnesota Timberwolves head coach Flip Saunders is not the only local coach battling blood cancer. University of Minnesota baseball coach Todd Oakes is facing cancer for a third time.

When Oakes was first diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia in 2012, the longtime Gophers pitching coach was given a 25 percent chance of surviving beyond five years, but he beat it. It came back in 2014, and he beat it again. Two weeks ago, Oakes found out his cancer had returned for a third time.

While his body fights cancer, Oakes tries to remain on the field as much as possible. On good days he is still doing what he loves: coaching all of us.

“Being able to walk out here with a uniform on to a beautiful field and being around these guys, and their vitality, being able to tell them a few things, not just about baseball but about life, truly is priceless.” Oakes tells Fox 9.

Coach T.O. has taught his players a lot the last few years, and baseball is the least of it. Oakes says the chemo drugs he is taking appear to be working, allowing him to continue doing what he does best.

“I think the biggest thing it's given me is a chance and opportunity to live out what a coach is all about,” Oakes says. “When we talk about strength, perseverance, hope, teamwork, minds over matter, it's given me a real life chance to live it out, to walk the talk.”

Link to Strike Out Cancer MN: Here