CENTER POINT — Even though he was retired from coaching, Center Point-Urbana football remained a strong part of Ted Rogers’ life until the end.
“Each Friday, we would have show a 3-minute video to the team before the game,” current CPU Coach Dan Burke said. “We made it point to make sure Coach Rogers saw that each week, and he enjoyed it a lot.”
Rogers, who coached 31 seasons on the field which now bears his name, died early Sunday of lung cancer. He was 65.
After stints at Somers Cedar Valley and Zearing Nesco, Rogers came to Center Point in 1973.
He led the Pointers to the Class 1A state championship in 1985, and continued to coach until retiring in 1993. He came back for 10 more seasons (1998-2007), finishing with a career record of 233-83-2.
“He was Center Point football,” Burke said. “I was an assistant for him for 10 years, and it was a unique experience for me. Coach was different, he was quirky … but he was awesome.”
About 250 of Rogers’ former players assembled in September for Ted Rogers Night. The field was renamed Rogers Field in 2005.
“Coach Rogers (was) someone you could call at any time if you needed anything,” said Skylar Price, a 2004 CPU graduate. “He was an effective coach because he had a personal relationship with his players.
“You could tell he cared about you. You knew football was important to him. But it wasn’t the most important thing.”
Rogers first suspected that something was wrong during a round of golf earlier this year.
“I thought I had pulled a muscle, but it kept getting worse, worse, worse,” he said in September. “I’m going to fight each battle as it comes. I’ve always been a fighter.”
Rogers graduated from English Valleys and graduated from Upper Iowa University in 1969. In 1991 he was inducted into the Iowa Football Coaches Association Hall of Fame.
Ted is survived by his wife, Kathy; sons, Kelly (Hilary) and Joel (Angelique); brother, Lonnie (Shirley) Rogers; granddaughters, Brexlyn and Joah Rogers; mother-in-law, Evelyn Kurtz; sister and brother-in-law, Su (Doug) Wolrab; and many fellow coaches and friends. Preceding him in death were his parents, Joe and Ione Rogers; father-in-law, Wayne Kurtz, and sister-in-law, Judy Rogers.
A family inurnment will be held at a later date. A memorial fund will be established in his name.