Rebounding from Tragedy - KSFY News - Sioux Falls, SD News, Weather, Sports

Rebounding from Tragedy

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(Marshall)  Brad Bigler has a had a lot of success in his time as SMSU's men's basketball coach. But it's what he's gone through off the court, makes you wonder sometimes, how he's able to go on.

  About a year and half ago his mother died in a canoeing accident.

  Then on July 28th of this year, he was seriously hurt in a car accident, which killed his infant son.

   Now he's starting a new basketball season in a Marshall community...that's been there for him.

   For 14-years, Southwest Minnesota State basketball has been a part of Brad Bigler's life.  First as a player, then assistant coach, he's starting his fourth season as the Mustangs head coach.

 "I've gone from a kid, to a young man, to an older adult here, going through phases of life." says Bigler

  Running his team through drills, it's a part of getting his life back to normal.

  "Here I can get away and work with the players. College kids have energy, and have their own way of thinking.  It's great to get back with them, and work together." says Bigler.

  Those college kids, were among those, coach Bigler leaned on in the offseason.  In July, while returning from a wedding reception in Grand Falls, near the town of Starbuck Minnesota.  The Bigler's car was hit head on by a drunk driver.  Bigler and his wife's grandmother were seriously injured.  His wife Heather, who was driving, suffered minor injuries. The biglers five-month old son, Drake, died in the crash.

"Since the accident, you hear about others who have lost children by an accident or something.  And you didn't know what to say.  When it happens to you, it's tough you know. It's really your worst nightmare."

"I knew Drake, I'd see him a few times each week.  Drake was always smiling. To lose someone and see him go through that, it's tough." says Mustangs player Jordan Miller. 

  The driver who hit the Bigler vehicle had a blood alcohol level nearly four times the legal limit.

 "My wife and I pray a lot.  You're angry, but you can't let it change you, you know what I mean. You just hope you can make difference." says Bigler.

  The Biglers two older children weren't in the car with them that day. Brad says it's important to be strong for them, and never forgets baby Drake.

  "And you never forget, you don't want to forget. You want to talk about it and remember the good times." says Bigler. 

  In days after the crash, the Mustang players and an SMSU community stood with the Bigler family.

 "I'm humbled by the support. I know now when somebody needs help and I can help them, I take advantage of it." says Bigler

  For a young coach who's been so much, a bad call or a tough loss may not hurt as much.  Bigler teaches the college game, he can a teach a lot more than that.

  "When you have a bad day, you just think of what he's been through, and it's fine." says Miller.

   "You know when the guys are going through and they're having a tough time. I tell them, it's going to be okay.  In the grand scheme of things, it's going to be alright." says Bigler    

   The driver who hits the Bigler vehicle, 38-year old Dana Schoen from Starbuck, Minnesota is facing multiple charges in the crash, including drunk driving.

   Brad's wife Heather is also back at work, as a counselor at the Marshall Middle School.


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