March has been tough for Phil Cofer.
Shortly after the Florida State Seminoles’ first-round win against the No. 13-seed Vermont Catamounts in the NCAA Tournament, Cofer took a phone call from his mother, who shared with him news of his father’s death. It was a heartbreaking scene in Hartford, Conn., as the guard broke down in tears and teammates embraced him.
Cofer, who sat out the Vermont game because of a foot injury, won’t be back with No. 4-seed Florida State for its Sweet 16 game Thursday against the No. 1-seed Gonzaga Bulldogs. Seminoles coach Leonard Hamilton told CBS Sports’ Jon Rothstein on Monday the team doesn’t expect Cofer to play.
“We’re going to respect Phil during this tragedy and the passing of his father,” Hamilton said. “He knows where we are and we know where he is. We’re here for him.”
Mike Cofer, the guard’s father, was a Pro Bowl linebacker for the Detroit Lions who died at 58 on Thursday after a 10-year battle with amyloidosis, a rare diseason affecting the heart, kidney and other internal organs.
Cofer thanked fans on Twitter for their support after news broke, and shared a GoFundMe seeking help with medical and funeral expenses. As of Monday, the GoFundMe was more than halfway to its $100,000 goal.
Cofer was a critical contributor in Florida State’s backcourt this year. The senior started 19 of the 22 games he played, averaging 26.2 minutes per game, 7.4 points and 3.5 rebounds.
Without Cofer, the Seminoles started three guards against the No. 12-seed Murray State Racers next to forward Raiquan Gray and center Christ Koumadje. Florida State also continued to heavily rely on star power forward Mfiondu Kabengele, who scored 22 points on 10-of-12 shooting in 23 minutes off the bench. The sophomore was the Atlantic Coast Conference Sixth Man of the Year.