Three years passed since the last time Eugene Rogers was on Ryan’s practice field. Before last Friday’s scrimmage, Rogers had never returned to Ryan, where he was an assistant for four years.
Rogers was back last Friday, but it wasn’t to cheer on his old employers. He was in a black, long sleeve T-shirt, instructing the North Crowley Panthers in their scrimmage against the Raiders.
The former Ryan defensive ends coach is tasked with turning around a program that went 3-7 before in 2012 and failed to win a single game in his first season as the Panthers’ head coach.
Rogers said he hopes to take some of the things he learned at Ryan and implement them at North Crowley.
“The thing about here [Ryan], you know how to keep it successful, to keep it great,” Rogers said. “That’s what I learned from [former Ryan head coach Joey Florence] and his program — learned how to keep a program at its highest level. I’ve been in the building stages, and I know how to do that.”
Rogers will definitely have his hands full in District 4-6A, which features the likes of Arlington Martin, Arlington Bowie and Arlington Lamar.
Rogers left Ryan in 2011 to become the defensive coordinator at Haltom, a posted he abandoned after a year to join North Crowley. Rogers was the defensive coordinator for the Panthers for seven years and earned a state ring in 2003, when North Crowley won the 4A Division I state title.
He left North Crowley after the 2004 season and was the head coach at Manor for three seasons before joining Ryan. He said he’s up for the challenge ahead of him this season.
“I’m excited,” Rogers said. “I love getting up in the morning and going to work. I love working with these kids. It’s a calling for me. I get joy in trying to rebuild a program with the way it went last year and the sour taste we have in our mouth.”