Cosgrove, Rabe To Receive NFF Awards Tonight
Connor Cosgrove inspired the concept of Gophers Clip Cancer to raise cancer awareness

March 7, 2013

The Minnesota Chapter of the National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame will honor outstanding individuals from the world of professional and amateur football in Minnesota at the Chapter's annual awards event on Sunday, April 28. Gopher Connor Cosgrove and John Rabe are two of the individuals who will be honored.

Cosgrove will receive the 2013 Courage Award, while Rabe will receive the Bob Stein College Student Athlete Award.

College and professional football Hall of Fame inductees are scheduled to attend the event, and WCCO-TV news personality Frank Vascellaro will return for his sixth year as Master of Ceremonies.

Cosgrove was diagnosed with leukemia in 2010 that, although it ended his football career prematurely, put Cosgrove on the path to become an inspiration to his teammates and the entire Minnesota football community.

This past season, Connor decided to turn his battle into a source of strength for others affected by the disease. The former wide receiver inspired more than 80 Gopher athletes and staff members to shave their heads at an event to promote cancer awareness. Athletes included more than 60 of Cosgrove's football teammates and women's volleyball standout Mia Tabberson. Cosgrove lopped off his own locks as well, hair that he regrew after chemotherapy that helped put his leukemia into early remission after only 29 days of treatment in 2010.

Cosgrove's actions to raise awareness are certainly far and above the call of duty, but his attitude since his diagnosis is even more impressive. When interviewed by the Pioneer Press, Cosgrove spoke about his will to take the diagnosis and treatment head-on and to keep focusing on January 13, 2014 - the data of his final scheduled chemotherapy session. According to Cosgrove, "The biggest goal is to get through that day and to come out of this a survivor. That's been the only option since Day One. I won't stop until that happens."

Rabe, a native of Iowa Falls, Iowa, came to the Twin Cities as a recruited tight end for the University of Minnesota Golden Gophers.  A business and marketing education major with a management minor at the Carlson School of Management, Rabe was able to excel despite the challenges of a Division I football schedule and a rigorous business program.  Testament to his efforts in the classroom, Rabe was named to the Academic All-Big Ten team in 2012 as well as the Capital One Academic All-District Football Team for District 6. 

Unquestionably one of the leaders on the 2012 Golden Gopher Football team, Rabe was named a team captain in 2012.  He donned maroon and gold for the Gophers 25 times in his career, starting 13 of those games.  While lining up as a tight end, Rabe tallied 18 catches for 179 yards and six touchdowns in Division I football.  Perhaps Rabe’s most stellar performance came in 2012 against the University of Nevada Las Vegas, in which Rabe’s two overtime touchdowns helped lead the Gophers to a season-opening victory.

Rabe’s efforts in the community were also plentiful. He has volunteered with several youth organizations, including the Fifth Annual Youth Day Out event at Jenny Lind Elementary School, the Hope Kids football clinic held at the University of Minnesota, and with Kids Against Hunger.  Rabe was also active with the St. Baldrick’s Foundation, an organization dedicated to curing childhood cancers.

Minnesota head coach Jerry Kill had high praise for the graduating senior captain: “John Was a great role model to his former teammates and the young tight ends coming in at the beginning of the season. The work ethic John possessed was one of the best I have seen.” 

The 6th Annual "Honoring Legends, Inspiring Leaders" awards event, presented by the Minnesota Vikings will take place on Sunday, April 28, at 6 p.m. at the new James B. Woulfe Alumni Hall in the Anderson Student Center at the University of St. Thomas.

About the Minnesota Chapter:
The mission of the Minnesota Chapter of the NFF is to serve Minnesota and the nation by developing leadership, sportsmanship, competitive spirit, and academic excellence in America's youth through promoting amateur football. The Chapter aims to:

  • Inspire excellence through Minnesota and College Football Hall of Fame player and coach role models
  • Highlight the educational and character-building benefits of football through youth programs
  • Honor, publicize, and financially support student-athlete football players 




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