Sports have always played an integral role in the life of Bill Rogers, Ashland High School graduate, class of 1951, starting with his participation in summer youth programs in New Philadelphia. Name the sport – he played it.
His first two years in high school found him starting as a basketball guard at Walworth, Wisconsin, McConnelsville and Monroeville. As a sophomore, he average 13 points per game for a Monroeville (Class B) team that its first contest, then won 21 consecutive outings before bowing out in the District Tournament (21-2). He was the lone sophomore named to the Huron County all-star first team.
Next stop for Rogers, whose salesman stepfather was always on the move, was Ashland, where the 5’10” guard posted back-to-back outstanding seasons for powerful state-ranked A squads. The 1949-50 team was rated number 2 in the Class A polls and rang up a 19-2 record against strong, independent competition. Both losses came at the hands of Mansfield Senior, a state semi-finalist. Bill was named Captain and Most Valuable Player of the 1950-51 team that finished 16-5, with three of its losses being administered by Mansfield Senior.
Bill won All-Ohio honors both years at Ashland. Twice he was selected to the International News Service All-Ohio First Team; the Associated Press All-Ohio Second Team; and the United Press All-Ohio Second Team. In addition, he was named Captain and Most Outstanding Player in First and Ten magazine’s All-Ohio First Team for the 1950-51 season. This all-star unit was chosen by the high school coaches.
In his senior campaign, Rogers set single-game and single-season scoring records, netting 35 points against Washington Court House and totaling 441 points in 21 games for an average of 21.0. Co-captain of the track/field team as a senior, Bill was a consistent winner in the long jump, an even in which he set a school record of 20’5”. He was a member of the National Honor Society and was elected Lieutenant Governor at Buckeye Boys State, sponsored by the American Legion.
At Bowling Green University, he lettered four years in basketball, starting at guard for three seasons. As a senior, Bill was named to the Mid-American Conference all-star second team by the league’s coaches. Chosen Captain his senior year, Rogers averaged 14.5 points per game to become the second-highest scoring guard in Bowling Green history for one season. January 4, 1955, Rogers came within one point of the Falcon’s single-game scoring record when he popped in 41 points against Western Reserve. His 17 field goals set a Bowling Green record. Coach Harold Anderson was quoted in the Cleveland Plain Dealer. “The most wonderful all-around performance of anyone I’ve ever had.” Not bad, considering Anderson already had coached nine All-American players prior to 1955.
As a tennis player, Bill was Singles and Doubles champion of Medina in 1953. During the 1960’s, while playing for the Mansfield YMCA, he participated in two national Class A volleyball tournaments and competed for six state championship teams. In 1993 and 1994, he played for state champion Mansfield YMCA in the Senior Olympics.
In the early 1980’s, Rogers held the position of General Manager for the Lumbermens Mutual Insurance slo-pitch softball team, one of the strongest Class A clubs in Ohio. He has been the publicity chairman for the Mansfield Mehock Relays for more than 20 years.
Bill, who is retired after a 38-year career as an insurance underwriter, and his wife, Judy, reside in Mansfield. They have two daughters: Donna Raagas of Las Vegas, Nevada, and Valerie Carmel of Carpinteria, California. Each have two grandchildren.
Bill graduated from Bowling Green State University with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Journalism in 1955. At graduation, he was commissioned a 2nd Lieutenant in the Army Artillery.
Nominator: Brad Lewis