Fans Interact with University of Minnesota Coaches During Gopher Road Trip
Gopher Athletics stopped in Perham to meet fans on the gopher road trip
PERHAM, Minn.— 182 miles stands in between Perham and the University of Minnesota, but for some die-hard gopher fans not even that could keep them away from game day.
“To be able to come up to a town like this, three and half hours away, I’ve met some people that are like ‘we go to every game’ and they drive every game,” men’s basketball coach Richard Pitino said.
So this time around, the Gophers packed their bags and came to them as a part of their 2018 road trip…and the best part?
“One of the things about the road trip I like is you get to see us as people,” football coach P.J. Fleck said. “I don’t have my tie on on the sideline. I’m not coaching. I’m not somewhere where you can’t go talk to him, or touch him or give him a hug.”
“They’re not just a face or a story in the paper, but you get to know them a little bit,” gopher fan Mike Wammer added. “We happened to sit at a table with Pitino, so that was neat.”
But even neater than the personal interaction was getting to relive some of the glory days of gopher game day.
“Us guys used to round up enough money to get gas and take a car and go to a basketball game in the middle of the winter and we could get a ticket for $2.00 and get in to watch the gophers play basketball,” Minnesota alumnus Jim Merritt said.
“The game days are so special,” gopher fan Del Zimmerman recalled. “All the bands play and march the streets and everybody is cheering and yelling and hanging out the windows.”
“When I was in college in the Twin Cities I wasn’t at Minnesota I was at Macalester, but I went over to a lot of the gopher games and that was in the 57-to-61 era when they had some really great football teams,” Wammer said.
And even as new players, coaches, and students come through the program, they still consider themselves the biggest gopher fans.
“I don’t know about the biggest, but in my heart I am,” Zimmerman said.
The Gopher Road Trip ended with a stop in Alexandria on Thursday.