First-year Arizona State co-offensive coordinator and wide receivers coach Rob Likens understands the significance of parental figures being involved in the lives of children and young adults. He also knows the obligation of parenthood can be a blessing, too, and not one to be taken for granted.
His son, Nicolas Cutter, is a daily reminder of that.
Cutter, 7, is the lone child born to Likens and his wife, Soni. Likens said during an interview in April that the couple had unsuccessfully tried for 12 years to have kids before having him.
“We had some setbacks,” he said. “I was about to the point where I just was gonna give up.”
That’s when their miracle happened. The Likenses turned to the in-vitro process, and on first attempt had Cutter, whose name is derived from the famous cut fastball thrown by former New York Yankees closer, Mariano Rivera.
“You’ll find out he picked up the ball one time and just started throwing it, it just happened,” said Likens, a devout Yankees fan. “Every time everybody asked him, ‘How did you get that pitch?’ He goes, ‘I don’t know, God gave it to me.’ I always remember that story.”
Likens affectionately, if not aptly, related Rivera’s divined-sanctioned fortune of a near-unhittable pitch to the astounding birth of his son.
“When we had Cutter, and we were told that we couldn’t have kids… When I look at him every day, I know that God gave him to me,” he said.