The Forgotten Coach

By Jeff Munn

Last week’s news of the passing of former Arizona State football Coach Darryl Rogers was understandably to some, a note and not much more.

Still, he deserves more than that.

Rogers came to Tempe as the man who followed Frank Kush. While Bob Owens finished out the tumultuous 1979 season, Rogers came from Michigan State to establish the next chapter. While on probation, Rogers’ teams fashioned a 26-8 record, and with the probation lifted at the end of the 1982 regular season, the Devils appeared in the Fiesta Bowl, handing Oklahoma a 32-21 defeat on New Year’s Day 1983.

Rogers was not flashy, he did not make grandiose statements. He coached football at a time when the sport was emerging from the days of the wishbone, and he helped bring the forward pass back into the college game. His offensive style made stars out of players like Mike Pagel, Ron Brown and Gerald Riggs. While at Michigan State, Rogers coached a wide receiver named Kirk Gibson who went on to fame in Major League Baseball.

Most of all, Darryl Rogers should be saluted by all Sun Devil fans for restoring order in the midst of chaos. He put the focus back on winning football. While John Cooper and Bruce Snyder coached ASU to Rose Bowls, Darryl Rogers guided ASU through its most challenging time, and guided the football program back to its winning ways.

Rest In Peace, Coach. Your work here will never be forgotten.