Coming from a family with 13 siblings, Kevin Burgau 1980 was ecstatic to come to the University of Minnesota Crookston to play football as a Trojan. His family lived in Sebeka, Minn., and their high school mascot was also the Trojan, meaning Burgau would continue his football career in Greater Minnesota.
Burgau will never forget number 81, the number he was on the Trojans football team. He says the memories he made playing football for UMN Crookston will always hold a special place in his heart and credits Head Coach Jim Sims for convincing him to play.
“In all honesty, I had no motivation to actually finish college; I just wanted to play football,” Burgau said. “I had some really great coaches who kept me going to class and encouraged me to put in the work.”
Through football, he was able to make lifelong friendships and amazing memories. Burgau recalls his favorite football memory, which was winning the conference championship. During his final season of football in 1979, the Trojans went 10-10.
Another memory that sticks out in Burgau’s mind is the time he got to ride in a plane for the first time. Burgau had a friend and teammate who was in the crop dusting program and flew small planes for the aviation club dubbed the “Trojan Flyers.” His friend flew to three UMN campuses including Waseca, Twin Cities, and Duluth, and Burgau was able to ride along.
In 1980, Burgau received an associates degree in applied science and majored in electrical power and processing while at UMN Crookston. After graduating, Burgau transferred to North Dakota State University to study agricultural business. He earned his bachelor’s degree from NDSU, though Burgau credits Crookston for ever going to college and earning a degree. Burgau said his experiences at UMN Crookston were the stepping stones and push he needed to further his education.
“UMN Crookston opened up a door of opportunities for me,” Burgau added. “I also got to meet many different people from many different backgrounds.”
Today, Burgau works in livestock nutrition. He lives in Sunberg, Minnesota with his wife, Jean, who he married in 1985. Together, they have four sons: Brett, Brock, Beau, and Blake.
Burgau says he will always credit UMN Crookston as being his original inspiration to continue his education.
Written for the March 2023 Torchlight e-Newsletter