Richard Hightower to lead Gophers receiving corps

New receivers coach Richard Hightower previously helped coach special teams with the Houston Texans in the NFL.      <i>Photo Courtesy The Houston Texans

Ashley Goetz

New receivers coach Richard Hightower previously helped coach special teams with the Houston Texans in the NFL. Photo Courtesy The Houston Texans

Just more than a week ago, Minnesota wide receivers coach George McDonald left the Gophers for a position in the NFL. Tuesday, head coach Tim Brewster announced that the NFL would be supplying McDonaldâÄôs replacement. Richard Hightower was named MinnesotaâÄôs new wide receivers coach Tuesday morning; he comes to the Gophers from the Houston Texans where he served the last four years as a special teams assistant and a coaching administrative coordinator. âÄúIâÄôm very pleased to add Richard Hightower to our staff,âÄù Brewster said in a statement. âÄúHeâÄôs a young man who IâÄôve known quite some time, going back to when he played at Texas. Richard has developed into an outstanding football coach. His experience as an assistant coach with the Houston Texans will be invaluable to him as he joins our staff. Richard is going to help our wide receivers be the best they can be.âÄù Hightower marks the third new hire Brewster has made this off-season. Offensive coordinator Mike Dunbar and defensive coordinator Ted Roof departed just days after MinnesotaâÄôs 42-21 loss to Kansas in the Insight Bowl and McDonald left for the Cleveland Browns on Feb. 10 . To replace Roof, Brewster found Kevin Cosgrove, a man that has spent plenty of time around college football and the Big Ten, having been on staff with Wisconsin from 1990-2003. In contrast, BrewsterâÄôs hires at offensive coordinator and now wide receivers coach have been young assistants from the NFL. Jedd Fisch was named offensive coordinator on Jan. 21 after spending his eight previous seasons in the NFL, most recently as the Denver BroncosâÄô wide receivers coach . HeâÄôs only 32 years old. Prior to his stint with the Texans, Hightower played college ball at Texas from 1999-2002, meaning Brewster was on staff with the Longhorns as tight ends coach while Hightower was in school . Maresh diagnosed with tumor on calf After missing the 2008 season to recover from open heart surgery, Gophers recruit and former Champlin Park linebacker Sam Maresh was recently cleared by doctors to play football again. That is, until according to his familyâÄôs website at caringbridge.org, doctors found a tumor in his left calf. âÄúWith all the focus on SamâÄôs heart and his lifting going so well, we were not really focusing on SamâÄôs left calf hurting him,âÄù SamâÄôs father, Bill, wrote on caringbridge.org. âÄúWe just kept icing and riding the bike instead of running. Sam called me the other day and said it just wouldnâÄôt get better and asked if I would take him in to get it checked out. Through x-ray, ultra-sound and [Magnetic Resonance Imagining] the doctors came in and said âÄòWell Sam, I guess with you itâÄôs never easyâÄô âĦ They found a tumor in his left calf.âÄù According to the post, the bone looks good and the tumor is almost surely benign, but it is âÄúsoft tissue in the center of his left calf and is causing the pain and will have to be removed.âÄù The tumor will require more tests and there is some concern about its location against three major blood vessels, Bill wrote. âÄúWe are not sure what is next but I am updating the page with this information to ask for your prayers again,âÄù the post said. âÄúSam left the doctorâÄôs office discouraged and even made a comment âÄòmaybe God doesnâÄôt want me to play football.âÄô We have talked and he knows that is not true, but as you can imagine, he is discouraged right now. He will be receiving a blessing this week to help in his recovery. We would like to thank you all again for your prayers and, if you donâÄôt mind, we would like to ask for more.âÄù