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Bo knows: Abraham is a behind-the-scenes 'icon' for the Dragons

Robin Abraham has been the equipment manager at Minnesota State Moorhead for more than 40 years. He also played football and was a longtime assistant football coach for the Dragons. David Samson / The Forum1 / 5
Robin Abraham washes athletic clothing in the equipment room at Minnesota State Moorhead. David Samson / The Forum2 / 5
Bo Abraham, shown here in 2006, is a former longtime assistant football coach at Minnesota State Moorhead. Minnesota State Moorhead photo3 / 5
Bo Abraham, shown here in 2006, is a former longtime assistant football coach at Minnesota State Moorhead. Minnesota State Moorhead photo4 / 5
Bo Abraham, shown here in 2006, is a former longtime assistant football coach at Minnesota State Moorhead. Minnesota State Moorhead photo5 / 5

Moorhead

On most Sundays during the summer, former longtime Minnesota State Moorhead sports information director Larry Scott knows what he's going to see when he drives past the west side of Alex Nemzek Hall.

Almost like clockwork, Scott said, Robin "Bo" Abraham is manicuring the green spaces around Nemzek Hall, mowing, watering and edging the grass. Those duties that are likely not in Abraham's job description as the athletic department's equipment manager or could wait until Monday, Scott said.

"I think that's something that exemplifies his makeup a little bit," said Scott, affectionately known as Scotty. "He cares so much about the way it looks around there. He wants it to be nice. ... It made me feel good. There is a guy out there trying to make the school look better."

The Dragons host Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference foe Minnesota-Crookston at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Aug.30, at Scheels Field at Alex Nemzek Stadium, staring their 100th football season.

Abraham, 67, has been at MSUM for nearly half of those 100 seasons, either as a player, an assistant coach or equipment manager. He was a Dragons assistant football coach for more than 30 years and has been the equipment manager for more than 40 years.

"He's never, ever wanted to have a job anywhere else and he's not ready to retire," said Kathy Abraham, Bo's wife of nearly 40 years who works in the president's office at MSUM. "He just loves the Dragons and he likes what he's doing."

When he was a toddler, Bo said he got his nickname from his older brother and it stuck. Bo and Kathy have two daughters and three grandkids. Bo's oldest grandson is named after him.

Doug Peters, MSUM's athletic director, describes Bo as a behind-the-scenes "icon" in the athletic department.

"When I think about him I think about loyal and dependable," Peters said. "He's a guy that I totally count on. I never think about him not being here. ... He's definitely a fixture."

Scott calls his longtime friend meticulous, patient and doesn't look for praise for doing his job.

"He never asks for anything," Scott said. "He's almost embarrassed or sheepish if he gets any praise or attention."

Bo joined the Dragons football program in 1971 and has been associated with the school since. He was a two-year starter at linebacker under legendary head coach Ross Fortier, playing for one conference championship team and earning first-team, all-conference honors as a senior. Bo transferred to MSUM after two years at Mesabi Community College in Virginia, Minn.

"Everybody asks about him," said Dragons head football coach Steve Laqua. "Every single alumni who comes through here asks to see Scotty or Bo. It's phenomenal how many people (Bo) remembers and how many people know him."

Sunday mornings during the fall, Bo goes to church and is back in the equipment room at Nemzek Hall, washing uniforms for all the school's fall athletic teams. His goal is to get all that done before noon so he can watch the Green Bay Packers, his favorite NFL team.

"I try to do everything I can the best for all the sports," Bo said. "As long as I feel good, I enjoy going to work. It doesn't bother me."

Kathy said her husband loves being part of the Dragons athletic department and interacting with the student-athletes.

"It's like his second home," said Kathy, who added Bo likes to play pool. "He spends a lot of time there. ... He really enjoyed coaching and he loves football and he loves all the students."

Laqua said Bo is a valuable connection to the football program's past and has been a valuable resource to Laqua since he took over as head coach in 2011.

"I couldn't tell you a story he told me about himself, but he definitely tells stories about other people," Laqua said. "I think that humility is what's special about this place."

For Thursday's football opener, Bo said his day will likely start at 8 a.m. and he likely won't leave Nemzek Hall until around 11 p.m.

The long hours and often working seven days a week doesn't bother him, even after four decades on the job.

"I've done it for so many years," Bo said. "It's something I enjoy. Being around athletics and everything, so I enjoy that. ... It really doesn't seem that long to me."

SEASON OPENER

What: Minnesota-Crookston at Minnesota State Moorhead

When: 6:30 p.m., Thursday

Where: Scheels Field at Alex Nemzek Stadium

TV: WDAY'Z Xtra

Eric Peterson
Peterson covers college athletics for The Forum, including Concordia College and Minnesota State Moorhead. He also covers the Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks independent baseball team and helps out with North Dakota State football coverage. Peterson has been working at the newspaper since 1996.

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