Through the Eyes of a Gopher Parent - Keith Setterstrom
Date: September 12, 2005
Topic: Gopher Football

GopherHole.com is excited to announce a new series of articles entitled “Through the Eyes of a Gopher Parent” which pays tribute to a very important aspect of any program – the parents of the student-athletes. In a continued quest to offer readers news and features geared towards the die-hard Gopher fan, GopherHole.com will offer interviews with parents of the Gopher senior class. First up is Keith Setterstrom, the proud father of offensive-guard and pre-season All-American, Mark Setterstrom.

GopherHole.com is excited to announce a new series of articles entitled “Through the Eyes of a Gopher Parent” which pays tribute to a very important aspect of any program – the parents of the student-athletes. In a continued quest to offer readers news and features geared towards the die-hard Gopher fan, GopherHole.com will offer interviews with parents of the Gopher senior class. First up is Keith Setterstrom, the proud father of offensive-guard and pre-season All-American, Mark Setterstrom. Football has always been a big part of the Setterstrom family, and Keith wouldn’t have it any other way. With four boys, running to and from games and practices has become second nature, but with his son Mark, the games are in front of some of the nations largest crowds in some of college football’s most storied rivalries. Keith recently spoke with GopherHole.com and talked about the early influences in Mark’s life, the camaraderie with other Gopher parents, the measures the family is taking to prepare Mark for a potential NFL career and his enjoyment of watching Mark mature as a person and a player over the last four years.

GH.com: Was Mark always big into football?

Keith Setterstrom: All four of our boys have been big into all different sports, but especially football. I think Mark started playing structured football in 4th grade and loved it from the start. He always played on one of the sides of the line and always enjoyed the offensive line.

GH.com: Who had the biggest influence on Mark growing up?

Setterstrom: Mark has always had a great relationship with his brothers and being the youngest of four, they always motivated him to work hard at everything he does. They set great examples for him and he listened to them pretty well. Mark was also lucky to have a great high school coach and high school conditioning instructor. Both of those guys were big influences on Mark.

GH.com: Thinking back to Mark’s recruitment, what was it that drew him to The U?

Setterstrom: Mark always wanted to be a Gopher. We even kept a paper he wrote in 8th grade for one of his classes where talked about his dream of playing for the Gophers one day. He worked really hard in the classroom and on his game to make that happen. He truly is living out a dream right now.

GH.com: When Mark entered The U as a freshman, did you seek the advice from any of the parents already in the Gopher program?

Setterstrom: The Gopher Parents Club is very active and offers a great support group and network of friends. We got involved in that right away and the parents of the guys already in the program were very welcoming. We have been told that our Parents Club is one of the more active clubs around. It really is a nice group of people and it has been fun meeting everyone.

GH.com: How many games have you been to in Mark’s career?

Setterstrom: I think it’s easier to say how many we have missed, which is very few. We have made it a priority to obviously get to all the home games, but most of the road games as well. There are very few that we’ve missed. We have an older son Chad who played at Northern Iowa (Editors Note: Chad was recently cut by the New Orleans Saints, but hopes to catch on with them or a different team this season; he also played in NFL Europe this past year) and there was a game where he and Mark played on the same day. I went to one game and my wife went to the other and we spent the entire time on the phone giving each other updates of the other game!

GH.com: Are there any particular games that stick out more than others?

Setterstrom: I think all three bowl games stick out pretty vividly as does the first three quarters of the home Michigan game a few years ago. But other than that, a lot of the road games are memorable because we get to see different stadiums and environments.

GH.com: What have been your impressions of the coaching staff through Mark’s career?

Setterstrom: We have gotten to know Mark’s position coach, Gordie Shaw, the best and he has been a great influence on Mark. He is a hard working coach that really gets the best out of each guy. And obviously we love talking with Coach Mason. I really admire the type of program he runs. It is one that the Gopher fans and administrators can be very proud of.

GH.com: Obviously Mark has been the recipient of a lot of pre-season accolades and many consider him a good pro prospect. Have you and your family begun any preliminary thoughts on how you’ll handle agents and combine training when the season is over?

Setterstrom: Actually we have begun some of this thought process. Since one of my other sons Chad has been through it already, we are prepared. It is important that Mark focus his energy entirely on schoolwork and the Gophers, so I am handling it all until the season is completely over. In the meantime, I am doing some early research on different agents and their firms. Once the bowl game is over, we hope to hit the ground running and Mark will interview a few agents at that time so we’ll be ready to rock and roll when that next stage of his career starts. But until then, Mark is busy hitting the books and getting ready for the next opponent.

GH.com: What are the biggest changes you have seen from Mark since he entered college?

Setterstrom: Mark has really grown as a person and a player over the last four years. It’s really gratifying as a parent to see his growth and maturity. He has always been goal oriented and loves to state a goal and work his tail off to achieve it. He told me before the season that he really wanted to be a team captain and when it was announced that he was, he called me with such pride in his voice. It’s fun watching him grow as a leader.