MINNEAPOLIS, Minn.–Dave Skaug is a 27 year old Senior studying Sport Management w/ a minor in Leadership. Dave had an academic plan to attend Normandale Community College for one year and transfer to the University of Minnesota to finish school and play lacrosse for the men’s club team but after graduating high school in 2008 from Hopkins he was struck with chronic seizures. He suffered partial seizers almost daily and grand mal seizures every other week. This unexpected health condition negatively affected his college career and physical health greatly from 2008 to 2013. In December of 2013 he spent three weeks in the Intensive Care Unit at the University of Minnesota hospital where he had two surgeries to remove a tumour that was the root of his seizure symptoms. Lacrosse was a big thing that got him through these hard times and kept him filled with delight. Being seizure free since surgery it was dream come true to join the Gopher Lacrosse program in 2015.
When and how did you start playing lacrosse?
In 2007 by junior year of high school I picked up a stick for the first time but I was hesitant to the entire thing. I was already committed to the track and field team running the 110 and 300 meter hurdles as well along with other event but as soon as a picked up a stick and made my first pass I was instantly hooked. I continued to play both sports my junior year at the varsity level and eventually dropped track to focus on lacrosse.
What is your spirit animal?
I was blessed to get the mighty and majestic Billy Goat as my spirt animal when I joined the Gophers lacrosse program. The details of why this was chosen for me is still a mystery to me. I’m told Eric Fong chose the Billy Goat for me so Eric still waiting on the details… Regardless I would not want any other animal to accompany me on this journey with the squad and beyond.
What are your plans after graduation?
I have a passion when it comes to working with kids and plan to keep building the game of lacrosse by coaching and working with organizations to get more lacrosse sticks in kid’s hands. I have a few different paths I might try and pursue after graduation. But the one that is calling to me the most is an internship offer I receive to work with the Hong Kong Lacrosse Association to build the game in their community.
Most memorable moment as a Gopher?
I would say my most memorable moment is beating St. Thomas this season and the entire bench running onto the field to celebrate to “Who Let the Dogs Out!” There was a lot of pressure for the team to come out on top for that game with them beating us last year in a close one. The team played through challenges that entire game and never let up. It was a game that literally brought the team together as a single unit and all the hard work everyone put into practice leading up to that point showed up.
Which of your current or former teammates had the greatest impact on you?
There have been so many great teammates and they have all helped get me to this point but there are a few in particular that have I need to recognize.
Nate Monsein had a huge impact on me for my two season as a Gopher. Fearing the large age gap, I had with my fellow team mates Nate being only a few years younger than me helped me feel more at ease with this situation. It’s been awesome having a teammate like him who constantly challenges you to get better every minute. I won’t forget all the good times Nate and I spent outside of practice playing lacrosse, talking about life and school or having a drink while watching some Hockey.
Kamal Baker and Ely Harel – Two players I started coaching when they first started playing the game as kids at Hopkins. I have watched them grow as players and young men over the years. Being their coach for so long and now having the opportunity to be there teammate as Gophers has been great. We have all bonded over the shared experiences of being teammates and they even coach me in practice so it has come full circle. They are both so talented and great individuals off the field. I’m so proud they have stayed with the sport and hope they continue to do big things for the program in the future.
Do you have any superstitions? Pregame rituals?
I’m not superstitious but I always needed to see Jeanne our amazing trainer before every game to get taped up or get an extra stretch in. She helped me come back from a pulled hamstring and a shoulder injury this season and without her there is now way I could have done that.
What has been your favorite class you have taken at Minnesota?
Any of the Sport Management classes have been a lot of fun! Taking classes in TCF Bank Stadium, taking tours of professional stadium and watching pro sports games for home work is never a bad assignment.
What is one piece of advice you have for incoming freshmen?
You might not make the biggest impact or get playing time right away but don’t let it discourage you. This team is a family through and through. Go to practice, go to the rec centre and build connections with your brothers. Success is something you earn and it isn’t given to you. Persevere through the hard times and I promise you there is going to be big things for you when you get to the other side.
Do you have any hidden talents?
The ability to fall asleep anywhere no matter what the conditions.
Favorite sport other than lacrosse?
“The Big Ticket” Kevin Garnett
Star Wars: Empire Strikes Back!!!
What would you do if you won a million dollars?
I would start my own lacrosse organization for under privileged kids in communities called GOAT (Greatest Of All Time) Lacrosse. I think every kid should have an equal opportunity to try this amazing sport and shouldn’t be turned away due to the high cost of the sport.