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Player Learns His Ex-NFL Star Father Has Died Minutes After NCAA Tournament Win

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Florida State’s Phil Cofer experienced the full gamut of emotions Thursday night.

His team won its first-round game in the NCAA Tournament, but then Cofer learned that his father had died.

Right after the Seminoles’ 76-69 win over Vermont, Cofer received a phone call notifying him that his dad, Mike Cofer, died at 58, the Tallahassee Democrat reported.

The younger Cofer immediately broke down in tears and shared the horrible news with his teammates.

Folks, please keep FSU’s Phil Cofer in your thoughts. His father, who has been ill for some time, has passed away. Phil found out after today’s game. So incredibly sad. His teammates are comforting him as best they can.

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Cofer did not speak with the media after the game, and FSU coach Leonard Hamilton was unaware of the news when he met with reporters.

Mike Cofer suffered from amyloidosis, a rare disease that disrupts normal function in the kidneys and organs. He was diagnosed in 2007. The treatment includes chemotherapy and marrow transplant, but there is no cure.

“At times the doctors looked at me as if I wasn’t going to live too much longer,” the elder Cofer, who played college football at Tennessee, told the Knoxville News Sentinel during an interview in 2013. “I’m a fighter. That’s in my genes.’’

Mike Cofer was a linebacker in the NFL for 10 seasons from 1983 to 1992, all with the Detroit Lions.

When he retired, he was first in Lions’ franchise history with 62.5 sacks, and he remains second behind Robert Porcher.

Phil Cofer didn’t suit up for the Seminoles’ tourney opener due to a foot injury that has bothered him all season. He missed the first nine games of the season with a broken right foot.

A team official said Cofer’s foot was swollen and it started to affect him last week, according to ESPN. FSU lost in the ACC Tournament Championship Game last Sunday and Cofer played.

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As a redshirt senior, Cofer is one of the oldest players on the team and a team leader. He’s started 19 of his 22 games this season and averages 7.4 points per game.

His value to the Seminoles goes beyond the box score as many pointed out on social media.

There’s no word yet on Cofer’s status for the Seminoles’ next game, or if he would even be able to play with the foot injury.

Florida State will take on Murray State on Saturday, and a win would give the Seminoles their second straight Sweet 16 appearance.

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Ross Kelly has been a sportswriter since 2009.
Ross Kelly has been a sportswriter since 2009 and previously worked for ESPN, CBS and STATS Inc. A native of Louisiana, Ross now resides in Houston.
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