Greg Rogerson was a teenager when his father Ron died unexpectedly in 1988 at age 44.
Even though more than 26 years have passed since Ron Rogerson coached the University of Maine football team, his son is quick to point out how much his four seasons in Orono meant to him.
Ron Rogerson’s influence continues to impact many of the players he coached at UMaine. This weekend, numerous former Black Bears have gathered in Orono to celebrate his memory.
“It was something that sprang up out of their love and respect for him,” UMaine head coach Jack Cosgrove said of the Football Alumni Weekend.
Greg Rogerson spoke not too long ago with Tom Ellison, who played for Rogerson in 1981 and ’82. Based on that conversation, Ellison helped put together this weekend’s alumni reunion to honor Ron Rogerson.
“There are 30-40 guys coming up this weekend, all to pay their respects to Ron,” said former Bears All-America linebacker Mark Coutts, who credited Ellison with spearheading the effort. “It turned out to be a pretty cool story.”
Coutts explained Josh Rogerson, the youngest of the late coach’s children, wrote a letter to Ellison describing his desire to know more about his dad through the thoughts of the former players. Josh Rogerson is a Marine Corps pilot who has done two tours in Iraq.
“It said in the letter that during his last tour of duty, he didn’t want to be in the air, he wanted to be on the ground with the grunts. He wanted the camaraderie,” Coutts explained. “That’s exactly how Ron wanted to be.”
Ellison, former two-time captain and NFL standout Steve Keating and Coutts were the driving forces in putting together the events.
“All those guys have stepped up to make sure that his legacy is remembered, honored and it gives them a chance to get together and rekindle the spirit they had when they played together,” Cosgrove said.
Rogerson led UMaine to a 19-23-1 record, including the Yankee Conference title in 1982. Coutts said he was an old-school coach, a taskmaster who displayed some serious intensity.
“Ron was hard-nosed, he was tough,” Coutts said. “For good or bad, he was unforgiving. There was no BS for him. If you wanted to play for Ron, you’d better bring it every day.”
This weekend, the alumni will tell Ron Rogerson stories during a handful of activities. They included a social gathering Friday night, a golf tournament Saturday morning at Penobscot Valley Country Club in Orono, lunch at Pat’s Pizza, and on the sidelines for Saturday’s 6 p.m. UMaine football game against New Hampshire at Alfond Stadium.
The former players also plan to pool their efforts financially and make a gift to the UMaine football program in Rogerson’s honor.
“It’s going to end up being a very good fundraiser,” Coutts said.
Stanley to attend UM fantasy camp
Former Boston Red Sox pitcher Bob Stanley will be among the featured guests during the UMaine Baseball Fantasy Camp.
Bears baseball coach Steve Trimper said there are still spots available for the three-day camp, which also will include an appearance by former UMaine star and major league pitcher Bill Swift. Former Red Sox catcher Rich Gedman also is expected to attend.
There will be plenty of camaraderie and baseball stories shared, while the play is expected to be noncompetitive.
The camp, which costs $400, is slated Oct. 8-10 at Mahaney Diamond in Orono. Events include batting practice, dinner and a reception on Oct. 8; games, a reception, three meals and the UMaine-Connecticut men’s hockey game on Oct. 9; and games and a closing reception on Oct. 10.
Participants receive an official UMaine jersey with their name on the back, two wood bats from Rawlings, two batting gloves, a fitted UMaine baseball cap and polo shirt, a batting jacket, all meals and a one-year membership to the Friends of Maine Baseball Diamond Club.
Those wishing to attend the fantasy camp should contact Trimper at 581-1090 or via e-mail at email@example.com, by Oct. 6.