Minnesota Gopher Pitching Coach Todd Oakes passed away Thursday morning surrounded by his family. Oakes had been suffering from acute myeloid leukemia since 2012, and after achieving remission twice finally succumbed to the disease. Oakes was 55 years old.
Oakes' family announced last week that he was entering hospice care and choosing not to fight any longer. He got to spend last Sunday with the Gophers who brought him the Big Ten Regular Season Championship Trophy before heading to Omaha for the Big Ten Tournament.
Oakes had shaped a number of Gophers during his time as pitching coach including notable professionals such as Glen Perkins and Seth Rosin. Oakes would coach 26 Gopher pitchers who would go on to be drafted by a MLB team.
No doubt the Gophers were playing with a heavy heart in their Big Ten Tournament opening loss to Iowa 8-2 Wednesday night, and will once again Thursday afternoon in an elimination game against Michigan at 1:00. The Gophers have been hanging Oakes' number 25 jersey in the dugout beginning last weekend, and no doubt it will be there again as Minnesota tries to keep alive in the Big Ten Tournament, and ensure a NCAA Tournament bid.