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Basketball Conference Using Tragedy To Raise Awareness

February 18, 2014, 5:38 PM by Leland Steva

Basketball Conference Using Tragedy To Raise Awareness

A crash involving a drunk driver took the life of Brad Bigler's five-month-old son Drake.  While it's been difficult for the Southwest Minnesota State Men's basketball head coach and his family to cope with their loss, the conference where Bigler coaches is doing its part to help prevent future tragedies.

A video, put together by Southwest Minnesota State, is part of the "Slam Dunk, Don't Drive Drunk," campaign.  The other sixteen teams in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Athletic Conference put together similar videos. In addition, designated weekends have been set aside for each team to ask fans to sign a pledge to not drink and drive.  In exchange for the signature, people receive a bracelet in memorial of Drake.

"For our family, if there's a chance of making a difference we want to. By using Drake and his legacy is a way to impact people; that's a good thing," Bigler said.

Bigler admits that even years later, the hole in his heart has never been filled.

"Life doesn't stop. The challenges are definitely right in front of you but my wife and I have some beautiful children we have to take care of," Bigler said.

The Bigler family now has a new child to take care of. In November, daughter Tatum was born. Like any good coach, Bigler is looking toward her basketball future.

"Her compared to the other kids, she's a monster. So I'm going to say she's going to be a forward," Bigler said.

As he looks to the future, Bigler is thankful so many people continue to remember Drake.

This weekend it's SMSU's turn to have fans sign the pledge forms and watch the videos made by SMSU, Concordia St Paul and Minnesota State Mankato. The games start Saturday at 6 p.m. and Sunday at 5 p.m.

This is the second year of the campaign.

Click the links to see some of the NSIC Student videos. The Concordia St. Paul video won the contest. 

Southwest Minnesota State University

Bemidji State University 

University of Mary

University of Minnesota Duluth

Upper Iowa

University of Minnesota Crookston

Minnesota State University Moorhead 

Wayne State

Concordia St. Paul

Minot State


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