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Rogers adds No. 500 to list

February 20, 2006|by TIM KOELBLE

koelble@herald-mail.com

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - His resume is brief when it comes to the number of stops along the way, but it carries plenty of information over the 27 years Dave Rogers has been the boys basketball coach at Martinsburg High School.

The West Virginia state championship in 1994 ranks at the top of the list of success stories during Rogers' tenure, but another key number recently became part of his journal.

On Feb. 4, Martinsburg defeated John Marshall on the road 91-61 for Rogers' 500th victory. Friday night, prior to the Bulldogs' game against Hedgesville, Rogers was presented a commemorative game ball.

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"I've had a lot of great kids, a good coaching staff and great boosters," said Rogers. "The players I've had have wanted to pay the price. I haven't scored any points or made a defensive stop. It's the players and the community with their support. ... These are the people that make things happen."

His Martinsburg teams have accomplished the following: Represented Region II in the state tournament 21 of 27 years; appeared in 14 state Final Fours; three state runner-up finishes; and not a single losing season.

Rogers was inducted into the Shepherd University Hall of Fame in 1990, having graduated in 1973 as a four-year starter.

He takes pride that many of the victories (and losses) have been against opponents who haven't been on the schedule as added creampuffs.

"It's not like we've had a padded schedule," he said. "We've always played the competition and haven't been ones to change schedules according to talent."

As an administrator, he has been the principal at South Middle School for nine years after having served as Martinsburg's athletic director and assistant principal. He currently serves his ninth year as president of the West Virginia Secondary Schools Board of Directors.

After his graduation from Shepherd, it wasn't long before Rogers took over the Martinsburg program for the 1975-76 season. Only a three-year break during the 1990s due to a school-related court battle keeps Rogers' victory total from being possibly higher.

"I played basketball at Shepherd for coach (Bob) Starkey and I knew all along I wanted to be a coach and teacher," said Rogers. "Even still, it's tough to balance coaching and the administrative end. But I'll tell you it is a relief when you get to practice and you have 12 kids that want to listen to you."

Rogers has coached several players who have gone forward in their basketball careers, most onto the NCAA Division II and III levels. He's had Marsallis Basey from the 1988 and 1990 state runner-up teams, who went on to West Virginia, Bo Heiden (Bucknell) and Richie Sutherland (Xavier). Recently, the name everyone is familiar with is current West Virginia star Kevin Pittsnogle.

"(Kevin) was a skinny little kid walking around South Middle and not even 6-feet tall," said Rogers of his then-future prep star. "That's a lot like Andre (Hornes) now. At South, who would even know he would be a basketball player? They both just shot upward."

And he's coached against some pretty good athletes, too.

When the Bulldogs beat Dupont for the state title, the Dupont team included the infamous Randy Moss along with Jason Williams, now of the Memphis Grizzlies. When the Bulldogs won the St. James Invitational Tournament in 1991, they were playing against the likes of Jerry Stackhouse and Rodney Monroe.

Rogers, who will turn 55 in May, doesn't plan on having a retirement party anytime soon. He's looking ahead to coaching his son, Brett, an eighth-grader at South Middle.

"We were talking at home and my wife (Sherry) pointed out that I've coached everyone's son except my own," said Rogers. "I'm looking forward to coaching him, and he knows I'm tougher on him than anyone else."

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