Kirk Cousins’ parents are Don and MaryAnn Cousins and the Minnesota Vikings quarterback was raised in a supportive, close-knit family with his two siblings, older brother Kyle and younger sister Karalyne. Cousins’ father is a pastor while his mother worked as a flight attendant with United Airlines for over three decades.
Here’s what you need to know about Kirk Cousins’ parents:
1. Kirk Cousins’ Father, Don Cousins, Is the Lead Pastor at Discovery Church in Florida
Cousins’ father is Don Cousins, a longtime pastor and author. He attended Trinity International University from 1974 to 1978 and graduated with a bachelor of arts in biblical studies, according to his LinkedIn profile. After graduating, Cousins began working at the Willow Creek Community Church as an associate pastor for 17 years.
Willow Creek Community Church is an Evangelical non-denominational, multi-site megachurch, with its largest site in South Barrington, a suburb of Illinois, which was founded in 1975. While at Willow Creek, Don Cousins “played a leading role in the development of more than 90 internal ministries and the leadership for each,” his website states.
In 1992, Don Cousins left Willow Creek and founded Team Development Inc, his LinkedIn shows, where he spent 20 years. “I speak, write, consult with non-profit organizations and coach leaders,” he wrote as the description of his role for those 20 years. “It is my mission to help guide Christian leaders and organizations in transforming their vision into action.”
Since 2013, Don Cousins has been the lead pastor at Discovery Church in Orlando, Florida. The church is a non-denominational church as well.
Cousins’ father was diagnosed with metastatic squamous cell carcinoma in 2015, the Orlando Sentinel reported at the time. He spoke about that time period in a podcast appearance with Sports Spectrum in 2019 and said he wasn’t anxious about the diagnosis.
“The process of going through that is not an enjoyable experience,” he admitted and said living with chronic pain during that time opened his eyes to what others who have chronic pain go through. In November 2015, Don Cousins was able to return to the field to watch one of his son’s games, and the quarterback had an excellent match, gifting his father with the game ball afterward.
“To have him back was exciting, and then to have a game like that was a lot of fun, giving him the game ball,” Cousins told Comcast SportsNet’s Mitch Tischler, according to Washington Post. “And he just said, ‘Thank you. Thanks for a great day.’ It put a smile on his face. And it was special for our family, and we’ll enjoy it tonight.”
2. Kirk Cousins’ Mother Is MaryAnn Cousins, an Iowa Native Who Worked for Over Three Decades as a Flight Attendant
Cousins’ mother is MaryAnn Cousins and she had a long career as a flight attendant with United Airlines. In 2019, Cousins paid tribute to his mother’s work, writing on Instagram, “Congrats Mom on 35 years (and counting) with one airline…your time at United has been the model of consistency, loyalty & hard work. Love you!”
MaryAnn Cousins, née Woodard, was raised in Fort Dodge, Iowa, and attended the University of Iowa, where she studied nursing and was on the dance team, MLive reported. Her family was passionate fans of the Iowa Hawkeyes and two of her family members were notable athletes. Her father, Ralph Woodard, played as a tight end and defensive end for the Iowa Hawkeyes in the 1940s, as did her uncle, Cousins’ great uncle Dick Woodard, as a center and linebacker.
Dick Woodard went on to get drafted into the NFL and played with the New York Giants and Washington Commanders, then known as the Washington Redskins. MaryAnn Cousins recalled going to football games growing up and told the publication, “We would be at the homecoming parade and the band would come down the street and my father would have tears in his eyes. Iowa football was such a part of our lives.”
3. Kirk Cousins’ Father Wanted His Children to Play Lots of Different Sports & Spoke About His Son’s Passion for Football
Cousins grew up in a suburb of Chicago, Illinois, and when he reached the seventh grade, his family moved to Holland, Michigan, where he attended Holland Christian High School. Cousins’ whole family was competitive and his father, who’d considered a career in coaching before deciding to become a pastor, coached his son in little league baseball, the Commanders reported.
The Vikings quarterback played baseball, basketball and football when he was younger but nothing made him happy like throwing a football. “For some reason, it resonated with me,” he shared. “It was fun. I love the competition. I enjoy throwing the football.” He credited his father’s presence in his life for getting him passionate about sports. “He was certainly a big influence in terms of my involvement in athletics,” Cousins said, “and who I am as a person.”
In fact, Don Cousins wanted all of his children to play sports for as long as they could, and to try different sports instead of focusing on just one, he told the Sports Spectrum podcast. Even though Cousins played several sports, his father shared that “Football was always his passion.” It was when Cousins was in fourth grade that his father really thought he had “something there” in terms of his abilities.
Cousins has said that his father’s presence throughout his childhood is something he feels very grateful about, explaining, “I was fortunate to have a dad who was very involved, very present, very wise,” he told the Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN).
“Just about every experience we had through the years my dad would bring back to our faith walk and our faith journey,” he continued. “So it was pretty hard to go a day or a week and not go through something without scripture being accompanied to it so it would be a great thing if I parented close to the way my mom and dad raised me!”
4. Kirk Cousins Is Very Close With His Parents & Was Living in Their Basement During the Offseason
Cousins is still very close with his parents, and he revealed in 2017 that he was still spending summers living in his parents’ basement despite being a successful NFL quarterback. Cousins spoke about living with his wife, who was at the time pregnant with their first child, in the basement of the Cousins home in Holland, Michigan.
“It works well,” he told GQ. “We don’t pay rent.” The couple also spent some of the winter months in the basement of his wife Julie Hampton’s parents in Atlanta, the publication reported.
Instead of going to a gym, Cousins trained in his parents’ driveway after a warm-up in the basement, which was interrupted by his mother who said, “I was peeking to find out when it was my turn on the elliptical,” according to GQ.
Cousins’ parents are proud of their son and how far he’s come, however. “He’s consistently been overlooked and underestimated,” Don Cousins shared with Beyond the Ultimate. “He’s seldom the biggest, fastest or strongest, but in the end he’s had a lot of success.” He admitted that watching his son play was often “stressful” while speaking with Spectrum Sports but added, “It’s a joy to watch our son compete.”
5. Don & MaryAnn Cousins Are the Parents of 3 Children as Kirk Cousins Has an Older Brother & a Younger Sister
In addition to the Vikings quarterback, Don and MaryAnn Cousins are also parents to Kyle and Karalyne Cousins. Both of Cousins’ siblings were athletes growing up as well, with Kyle playing college baseball while Karalyne played tennis and ran cross country, Don Cousins shared in his podcast appearance.
Kyle Cousins is the NFL star’s older brother by 22 months, and the two are very close. “This season has been a joy for me to see Kirk enjoy the rewards of all the hard work he put in,” Kyle Cousins told the Holland Sentinel in 2010 when his brother was in college. At the time, he said, “To see him on this kind of a stage is a joy. Joy is probably an understatement.”
As for Cousins, he said his older brother “is as good of an older brother as you can have. He’s my biggest supporter. He comes to every game. He schedules his work and his family plans around the games. He makes sure every weekend’s available so he can be at every game… We love being together.”
Kyle Cousins now works as the Orlando area director of Mission Increase Foundation, which aims to help Christian nonprofits with fundraising, its website states. His LinkedIn shows that he obtained a bachelor’s degree in business from Calvin University followed by a master’s degree in Biblical Studies at Moody Bible Institute.
Cousins’ younger sister is Karalyne Cousins Blochberger, and she works as a doctor in Kissimmee, Florida. She obtained her undergraduate degree at Hope College and then attended medical school at Michigan State University College of Human Medicine in 2017, her Doximity profile shows.
Don Cousins said it’s been wonderful as a parent to see the close bond between his children. “Like any parent, you want your kids to get along — not just get along but in effect be best friends,” he told the Sentinel. “All three of our kids are in fact best friends. Kirk’s biggest fans are Kyle and Karalyne.”