by Joshua Booth
NORTH NEWTON, KAN. – Bethel College friends and football fans are mourning the passing of a record-setting coach who dominated the 1980s.
Former Thresher head football coach Kent Rogers died Aug. 3 after several years of illness. Rogers led the program from 1979-94.
“Kent had a significant impact on Bethel College and specifically our football team,” said Bethel Athletic Director Tony Hoops.
“He impacted many lives as a coach and mentor at Bethel, and will be tremendously missed by our community. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family during this time of loss.”
Rogers came into Bethel in 1979, taking the reins of a football program that had gone 0-9 the season before.
In Rogers’ first season as head coach, Bethel produced a record of 3-6, but he would go on to lead the Threshers to their greatest season in program history in 1984.
That season, Bethel went 9-0 in the regular season, clinching their first KCAC conference championship and making post-season play.
Rogers was named KCAC Coach of the Year for his efforts, as well as NAIA District 10 Coach of the Year.
Rogers’ most successful seasons at Bethel were 1983 through 1986. He went 29-8 during those four seasons.
Rogers still holds the record for most wins (69) among head coaches in Bethel program history. His 16 seasons of service as head coach are the second highest.
Rogers also made his mark as an educator, spending many years as a professor in the health and physical education department.
“Kent worked in education his entire life and had a strong influence in the lives of students, whether it was on the high school or college level,” said Denise Krase, assistant to the academic dean.
“His oldest son, Randall Rogers, a Bethel alumnus, brought Kent to a Bethel football game this past fall, and they watched from the end zone. I know, as a personal friend of the family, that evening was special and meaningful to him.”
Bethel alumnus and current assistant athletic director of football ops at Michigan State University Tim Allen played under Rogers during Allen’s time as a Thresher. After graduating from Bethel, Allen joined Rogers’ coaching staff.
“I owe every opportunity I have received in this business to Kent Rogers and Bethel College,” Allen said in a previous interview.
Funeral service details for Rogers are still pending.
Bethel College is the only private college in Kansas listed in the Forbes.com analysis of top colleges and universities, the Washington Monthly National Universities-Liberal Arts section and the National Liberal Arts College category of U.S. News & World Report, all for 2016'17. The four-year liberal arts college is affiliated with Mennonite Church USA. For more information, see www.bethelks.edu.
In sports, Bethel competes within the 12-school Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference, and the NAIA For more information, see www.bethelthreshers.com.
In sports, Bethel competes within the 12-school Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference and the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics. For more information, see www.bethelks.edu.