NORTH NEWTON — Former Bethel College football coach Kent Rogers passed away Thursday, the school announced. Rogers was the head football coach at Bethel from 1979-1994.
"Kent had a significant impact on Bethel College and specifically our football team. He impacted many lives as a coach and mentor at Bethel and will be tremendously missed by our community. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family during this time of loss," said Tony Hoops, athletic director.
Rogers came to Bethel in 1979, and was given the reigns to a football program which had gone 0-9 the season before. In his first season as head coach, Rogers produced a 3-6 record. He would go on to lead Bethel to its greatest season in program history in 1984 when the Threshers went 9-0 in the regular season, clinching their first KCAC conference championship and making postseason play. He was named KCAC Coach of the Year for his efforts, as well as NAIA District 10 Coach of the Year.
1983-86 were Rogers' most successful seasons at Bethel, as he went 29-8 during those four seasons. He currently holds the most wins among head coaches in Bethel's program history with 69, and his 16 years of service as head coach are the second most for the program.
Rogers also made his mark as an educator at the institution, where he spent many years as a professor in the Health and Physical Education department. He left a tremendous mark on his students and players during his time at Bethel.
Tim Allen, Bethel alumnus ('86) and current Assistant Athletic Director of Football Ops at Michigan State, played under Rogers during his time as a Thresher. He became a member of Rogers' coaching staff once he graduated from Bethel, and paid homage to the school and his coach in a previous interview.
"I owe every opportunity I have received in this business to Kent Rogers and Bethel College."
There will be a visitation period on Aug. 12, from 1 to 3 p.m. at the Lauer Funeral Home in Seneca, Kansas. A funeral service will take place immediately afterwards. In lieu of flowers, the Rogers family is starting a Kent Rogers Memorial Scholarship Fund, which will be used to fund college scholarships for seniors at Seneca, Hesston and Rock Creek high schools. We ask that you remember his family during his difficult time.
Rogers’ son, Randall, formerly coached at Canton-Galva.