Hogan’s career celebrated at CHHS

Published 10:36 pm Saturday, May 15, 2010

Family, friends and former players of Coach Mike Hogan gathered Saturday night to celebrate the retirement of the legendary Charles Henderson baseball coach.

Hogan, who is the namesake of CHHS’s Hogan’s Hole, where the Trojans play their home baseball games is retiring at the end of the school year.

“I’m so happy he’s getting ready to retire, but I’m really sad to see him go because I know the impact he had on so many children,” said Dr. Linda Felton-Smith, Superintendent of Troy City Schools.

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That impact was evident, as many of Hogan’s former players took their turns at Hogan’s teaching podium to recall their memories of their coach.

“My senior year, we weren’t even going to have a team because no one wanted to coach us,” said Gregg Owens, CHHS class of 1979. “We twisted Coach Hogan’s arm a little bit, and we came out there to coach us. We’re just fortunate we had someone step forward like he did.”

Dan Smith, another of Hogan’s former players, said Hogan, along with longtime assistant Butch Austin, was instrumental in building up a CHHS program that is now considered one of the best in the state.

We have a tradition here that has been built due to Coach Hogan and Mr. Austin, and that tradition is one of the reasons Coach David Irons took this job and is here now,” Smith said.

Owens recalled the 1979 season, when the Trojans won a conference title in dramatic fashion over Andalusia, and eventually advanced deep into the state tournament.

“I’d like to think that one conference title game had something to do with the next year, and the year after that and building that tradition here,” Owens said.

Hogan’s influence went on past 1979, however.

Chris Huner, Class of 1989, said he still sees Hogan’s influence in recreation league baseball to this day thanks to former players who are now coaches themselves.

“Your legacy, your philosophy and your work ethic live on in this town,” Huner said to Hogan. “Those lessons you taught us were taken to heart, and they’re lived by and players are still coached that way here today.”

CHHS principal David Helms also complimented Hogan on his many years of agriscience teaching.

“I firmly believe every coach is a good teacher, but not every coach applies himself in the classroom the way this man does everyday,” Helms said.

Austin, Hogan’s longtime assistant and friend, was also on hand to honor his former colleague.

“He’s one of my best friends, and I love him because I learned so much from him in all our years together,” Austin said.

At the end of the dinner, Hogan came up the podium he has stood behind for so many years to address many of his former pupils for the final time.

“I’m very honored and humbled,” Hogan said. “I appreciate the opportunity I was given to work here. I loved coaching football and baseball, and I really love teaching too.”

While Hogan spoke highly of his coaching career, he did point out a valuable life lesson learned during his time in the classroom.

“I used to think that if you weren’t an athlete, then you weren’t a good person because athletics was all I knew,” Hogan said. “But once I started teaching Ag, I learned the most important thing in life is being a good person, and all that other stuff like how many touchdowns you scored all washes out in the end. That was a valuable lesson, and I want to thank those Ag boys for teaching me that.”

With his career nearing its end, Hogan said he is a bit uncertain about what lies ahead in retirement.

“I’m looking forward to retirement, but when you’ve been doing something for 35 years, I have no clue what we’re going to do,” Hogan said.