Running Back, 2010-2012
Brad Rogers may only be 24 years old, but he’s already commanding the respect of athletes just a few years younger than him.
After his own playing career was cut short due to injury, the Iowa fullback from 2010-2012 didn’t get discouraged.
“I strongly believe everything happens for a reason,” he said. “Stuff is going to happen, and a lot you can’t change. You can’t put your head down. I rolled with it and fell into exactly what I wanted to do. I love it.”
Rogers is back on the football field, working as an assistant football coach at St. Lawrence University — a Division-III school located in Canton, New York. In his first season on staff, the Saints finished 8-2 — the team’s best performance in more than 15 years.
The former Hawkeye plays the role of both graduate assistant and full-time coach at St. Lawrence.
Off the field, he’s pursuing a Master’s degree in Educational Leadership. On the field, he’s getting an education in every aspect of collegiate coaching. He serves as the positions coach for the running backs and tight ends, is responsible for his own recruiting areas, and is expected to upload, cut and analyze film.
“I love being able to pass on the knowledge I gained from playing to others,” Rogers said. “I’ve adapted my style from coaches I’ve had in the past, but I don’t break my personality. What you get from me outside of football is what you’ll see on the field. As long as my players are going 100 percent, I cannot ask for anything else. I can teach assignments and technique, but I can’t teach effort. The main thing I stress to my guys is effort.”
Rogers started 12 games at fullback in his Iowa career, and while his name didn’t show up often in the box score (16 career carries for 87 yards and four catches for 21 yards), he was an exceptional blocking back.
The fullback helped pave the way for running back Marcus Coker to rush for more than 1,300 yards in 2011 — the fourth-best single-season performance of any running back in Iowa history.
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Rogers’ effort didn’t go unrecognized. He was named “Comeback Player of the Year” in 2011, and Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz said the fullback brought “a good vibe” and a “real positive energy” to the team.
“Brad always had a clear head and a steadfast goal,” said former teammate Paki O’Meara. “He was extremely motivated and worked exceptionally hard. He’s much more mature than his years, and has always had a great attitude about things. He’s a keen learner of the game — always asking questions and truly appreciative of the help the older guys could give him. It’s hard not to respect someone like that.”
Consistently staying on the field was difficult, though, as Rogers battled the injury bug throughout his collegiate career.
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A heart virus that caused difficulty breathing kept him out of the 2010 Insight Bowl and the first four games of the 2011 season. He suffered a back injury in 2012 that required surgery, and ultimately opted to end his football career.
Rogers started thinking about his health, and how the physical toll of the game could jeopardize his quality of life.
“I just knew playing wasn’t going to be a smart thing to do,” Rogers said. “That’s when it became clear to me that I wanted to be a coach. Being out of football for that last year of my playing career put things in perspective for me.”
Unable to find a coaching job out of college, he spent a year away from the sport working in the corporate world, yearning to get back on the football field.
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Lester Erb, Rogers’ position coach at Iowa, knew the fullback was looking to get back on the sidelines. The former Iowa assistant previously worked with St. Lawrence head coach Mark Raymond at Syracuse, and when a coaching position opened at the D-III school, Erb told his former colleague that Rogers was the right guy for the job.
“We’re very fortunate to have him here,” Raymond said. “Brad is an exceptional young man with a bright future. He’s very mature, and has a presence about him that commands respect from the young players. He made an immediate impact on our program, and is going to get even better as he gets more years under his belt.”
Rogers hopes to eventually return to the sidelines with a Division I team. With his maturity level and strong work ethic, Raymond fully expects the former Hawkeye to reach that goal.
While Rogers aims high with his personal goals, he doesn’t lose sight of what coaching is all about.
“Hopefully I can get back to the Division I level,” he said. “But I won’t measure my success as a coach by wins and losses, or what level I reach. No matter where my coaching career takes me, my main focus is helping and teaching kids.”