The only football coach El Diamante has ever had bid an emotional farewell to the sport this week, one game into his 16th season.
Mark Rogers told his team Tuesday at practice that he’s stepping down immediately because of Parkinson’s disease, a nervous system disorder that over time robs a person of fluid movement. He was diagnosed in 2003.
In an interview Thursday, an emotional Rogers talked about what he’ll miss most:
“Impacting kids lives. Taking a kid who has no father and had no direction and give them football and basically teaching them life through football. I had a lot of kids like that.”
His defensive coordinator, Devin Ramos, has taken the reins beginning with Thursday’s 52-0 loss to Tulare Union.
Rogers’ last game with the Miners was last Friday’s 48-28 loss to Tulare Western.
He went 110-60 with eight West Yosemite League championships and two Central Section Division II championships and two section runner-up finishes, according to section historian Bob Barnett.
Rogers also coached girls basketball at Redwood from 1990-02 and won one league title with a section runner-up finish in 2002.
“I’m going to miss the other coaches,” said Rogers, 68, who was making plans Thursday for a weekend trip to Cayucos and didn’t plan on attending the Miners’ game. “To me, that’s half the fun, dealing with other coaches. The camaraderie with my own coaching staff. The kids, staff and the people I’ll miss the most. The game, yeah, I’ll miss the game. Winning a close game is a lot of fun. Losing a tough game is tough, but at this point in my career I had a lot of games. The people are more important than the game.”
Rogers said his legs were “giving out a little bit” and at times he can walk “pretty good and sometimes I can’t.”
“Bottom line: I always ask the kids when they step on the football field, give 100 percent,” Rogers said. “I just felt at this moment I couldn’t give 100 percent. It was time for me to give it up. All good things come to an end.”