Reaction has been strong to the recent announcement from Larry Hogan that he had been relieved of his basketball coach duties for the Leavenworth High School boys’ program, as well as from his teaching post, effective at the end of the current school year.
Many people wrote the Leavenworth Times to share their thoughts on the move to remove the coach from his post of 35 years right before the school moved from the daunting, 6A-dominated Sunflower League to the new United Kansas Conference starting in the fall.
Leavenworth Unified School District 453 told the Leavenworth Times that no action has been officially made on Hogan’s jobs, but Hogan believes that he is no longer the head coach.
The news, to say the least, has upset many.
Following are some of the comments sent via email and social media to the Leavenworth Times. For legal reasons and for purposes of length, some of those committed submitted have been edited.
GRANT GREENBERG, former Pioneer, University of Saint Mary alum
“Coach Hogan was one of the best coaches I have ever had. I couldn’t have asked to learn under a better coach and teacher. Thank you for all that you did for me and countless others. Also, thank you Mrs. Marsha (Momma) Hogan for always helping out all the boys and being part of coach’s great legacy at Leavenworth.”
RAYMOND BRIGGS, Leavenworth High alum, class of 1999
“Crazy to actually see this day happen. Growing up in Leavenworth, there was always a feeling of pride, winning tradition, sense of prestige that was associated with basketball at Leavenworth High School. … The patience, persistence and passion that coach Larry Hogan poured into me really gave me a strong foundation and appreciation for the fundamentals of not just the game but also life. I will always have respect, appreciation and eternal gratitude for coach Hogan and the legacy, impact and relationships that were created by his program through him dedicating his life to young people. Special thank you to Marsha Hogan. Words can’t begin to describe how much I appreciate and am thankful for all of the love, care and yummy food. You two definitely complement each other perfectly, and I’m grateful for all of the patience you guys showed with me.”
MARIO STOWERS, Leavenworth High alum, class of 2005
“Today I write in a state of sadness for his departure. Coach Hogan is a legend in my mind, for his accolades as a coach but also how he instills self-discipline in young men, self-discipline that will carry these young men for the rest of their life. I was fortunate to play for coach and I didn’t realize how special that opportunity was until I was older and realized how much I loved to play for someone who cared for me. Success is about relationship building and self-discipline. Coach exemplified how to be the best at both. I’m thankful he was placed in my life as a mentor, friend and coach.”
MIKE ALBO, Leavenworth High alum, class of 1998
“I’ve heard that coach Hogan was fired because his teams weren’t prepared and that they didn’t win enough games this year. … He didn’t win enough games? How contradictory of a reason is that? The athletic director (James Vanek) recommended and the board voted to remove Leavenworth athletics from the Sunflower a year ago so it could join a conference and formulate a schedule where their teams would be more competitive. So he’s fired because he didn’t win enough games in the Sunflower schedule this season? I’ve known (Hogan) all my life. I attended Leavenworth basketball games since I was a young boy. I went to his summer camp starting around 7-8 years old. I played for him all four years of high school. I know you’ve heard so many great things about coach Hogan. The coach, the teacher, the man, the friend, etc. It’s all true. I learned how to prepare, how to be a teammate, how to be a leader, how to work hard. I still can’t believe they let him go. It’s wrong on so many levels. He poured his heart and soul into that school, the community and all of his players and students.”
“I went to Larry Hogan’s camps in mid to late 80s. Good guy and gave us an opportunity to go to a day camp when there weren’t many around. His motto was, ‘hustle, hustle, hustle.’”
“I am a basketball father of two sons who played in two different high school programs and each played in a state title championship game (Kansas, Virginia). Both my sons played for coach Hogan. At the time each thought he was too hard and pushed them too much. Both later played college basketball. Both later cherished their time with him. My oldest played DI. He was on the 2000 state championship team. After he played in the Missouri Valley Conference against teams like Wichita State, he started appreciating his high school coach. Over and over he would say, ‘Coach Hogan prepared me for college basketball.’ My youngest son transferred to a high school in Virginia, and immediately appreciated his time with coach Hogan. In fact, he compared every coach to Larry Hogan and they never measured up. My son was a better JUCO point guard because of his time with the Pioneers. Coach Hogan was challenged each year with managing expectations for playing time, on-court roles and future expectations. He was always honest. Not sure I would have handled parents as well as he did. There is a right way and a wrong way to release a coach who gave 35 years to a high school. One way is to have a transition plan and to honor the coach publicly before a new coach takes over. The other way is to fire the coach after creating false reasons based on W/Ls. Larry Hogan deserved better.”
MIKE and ROSALEE ROBINSON
“Our family has known Larry Hogan for many years. Our daughter was a manager for his basketball program for the four years she was in high school. She had nothing but positive things to say about her time spent with coach Hogan and (Leavenworth) basketball. We attended and followed the team for many games over four years. I witnessed the actions of a man who cared about each and every person in his program. He did much more than coach basketball. He taught young men and women life lessons which are much more valuable than always winning. Have we lost the value in teamwork, honesty, tolerance and humanity in general? If we always win, there are no lessons to be learned, no motivation to be stronger. I know of more than one occasion when a player was benched for disciplinary reasons even if it meant the team would suffer without the participation of that player. His values and integrity won out, it wasn’t just about winning the game. It was about integrity and life lessons. The accomplishments of many of the young men coach Hogan worked with were, in part, because of coach Hogan. He was always there for all of his team members and would do anything for them to help them succeed. Now it is our turn to be here for him. Leavenworth, be proud of Larry Hogan and what he has done for our kids and our community.”
“Coach Hogan is a wonderful coach and person. My boys treasure their memories of playing basketball for him as well as the friendship that they have with him to this day. This situation could have been handled better and I am extremely disappointed that coach Hogan did not receive the respect that he deserves. Any team would be lucky to have him as their coach.”
“I obviously did not play boys basketball at Leavenworth High School, however, I was a competitive gymnast, diver, cheerleader and pole vaulter. Many of my closest (LVHS) friends played for coach Hogan and one thing I can say for certain is all athletes respected him. Coach Hogan was not only focused on the wins, but on building character in his athletes. I am sorry to see this day come. It is the end of a great era in (LVHS) history.”
CHUCK and JUDY MOOREHEAD
“What a devastating day not only for LVHS, but for the Leavenworth community. An irreplaceable legend has been stripped from our hearts and from all the young men who could have benefited from his leadership and guidance. He taught many, many young men far more than winning. He instilled in each of them life lessons like honesty, integrity, teamwork and compassion for each other and for what you believe in. He taught them how to compete and survive and reach their potential not just on the basketball court, but in life itself.
He worked with many young men through the years who had truly lost their way and he was instrumental in helping create the successful adults they are today. If you think that his intentions were always about a basketball game, you couldn’t be farther from the truth. The legacy of Larry Hogan reaches far beyond the city limits of Leavenworth. His love and compassion for his players, this community and basketball has no boundaries.”