Bucky Burgau begins final season as Cobbers baseball coach
MOORHEAD, Minn. (2/01/14)— At exactly 12:01 a.m. the Concordia baseball team began the 2014 season. It signaled the start to the end of a very distinguished era for the Cobbers. Bucky Burgau, who is entering his 36th season in charge of the tradition-rich program, will step down as head coach at the end of the season.
Burgau is set to step down at the end of the year and will give control of the program to Associate Head Coach Chris Coste. Burgau won't be too far away from the team he built into a perennial league contender as he will stay on as an assistant coach.
The "Midnight Madness" approach to his last campaign is just one of the changes that Burgau has incorporated into a team which played in the conference championship game last season. Gone are the days when Burgau wouldn't allow his players to have facial hair or take the field with hair sweeping out from under their caps. His ability to adapt to the new generation of players has Burgau on the precipice of 670 career wins. He is the winningest coach in the history of MIAC baseball and last season became the first conference coach to win 400 league games.
Despite the more lenient ways with player grooming, the basic philosophies which guide Burgau and his coaching style remain the same. The players are still ingrained with the sense of "Bucky Ball". They are drilled on fundamentals and excel at the basics of the game. Burgau demands that his players respect the game and that they give back more than they take out. These aspects will never go out of style and will remain with the program long after Burgau has stepped aside.
Even though Burgau is in his 60's and entering his 36th year as head coach, his enthusiasm and excitement for the game haven't diminished. Talking about the upcoming season, Burgau radiates optimism as he gushes about all the returning players and the great finish in 2013.
As Burgau gathered his "boys" around for the last opening pre-practice talk in his career, his conviction to the game and his team are just the same as when he started back in 1979. At the time he was hired, then Cobber Atheltic Director Dr. Armin Pipho commented, "we are very fortunate to have a young man of Bucky's experience and background to handle the baseball team. I am confident our program will continue to develop under his leadership."
Little did Pipho know that 36 years later Burgau would be still developing the team at the top level of the MIAC.
The Cobbers will start the 2014 season when they play Hanover College in Winter Haven, Fla. on Feb. 23. The game will be the first of eight in Florida as part of the RussMat Central Florida Invitational.