Former Fresno State football coach Darryl Rogers died Wednesday, according to reports. He was 83.
Detroit media was the first to report his death, sourcing Kirk Gibson and others who played for Rogers at Michigan State.
Rogers went 43-32-1 in seven seasons at Fresno State (1966-72), then moved to San Jose State (1973-75) where he pushed the Spartans into the national rankings while compiling a three-year record of 22-9-3.
From there he went first to Michigan State then Arizona State, compiling a career college coaching record of 129-84-7 in 20 seasons. He also coached the Detroit Lions in the NFL, compiling an 18-40 record.
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"Not only was he a great coach, but just a great person," said former Fresno State coach Pat Hill. "He touched a lot of lives, that guy, at all levels. He was just an outstanding person — you couldn't ask for a better person than Darryl Rogers. He will be missed by a lot of people because, like I said, he touched a lot of lives."
Rogers retired from coaching in 1991, and he and his wife, Marsha, moved to a home in the Brighton Crest (now Eagle Springs) golf development near Friant so that he could be nearer grandchildren living in Clovis.
He grew up in Long Beach and played defensive back at Fresno State in 1956, then got his coaching career started here.
"Fresno was a small town, but it was semi-isolated in an area where people supported their sports teams," Rogers said in a 2006 Fresno Bee story about the program's history. "When we had 11,000 people at Ratcliffe they were spilling over onto Blackstone."
He has the distinction of never being fired as a college coach, and was the 1979 national Coach of the Year at Michigan State.
He was inducted into the Fresno County Athletic Hall of Fame in 1989. He is on the College Football Hall of Fame ballot.
Gibson, who went on to be the Los Angeles Dodgers' hero in the 1988 World Series in a stellar baseball career, recalled Rogers in an interview with the Detroit Free Press: "He's special, and his spirit will be in us all."