Rogers honored for success
Published 11:30 pm Wednesday, June 11, 2014
Nansemond River High School’s softball team dominated the conference competition this year and continued its ascent under the leadership of coach Gabe Rogers. Consequently, his local peers bestowed upon him the honor of Ironclad Conference softball Coach of the Year.
This marks the second year Rogers has served as head coach of the Lady Warriors and the second year in a row he has received a Coach of the Year honor. Coaches of the Southeastern District recognized him last year after he steered the team to a 16-6 record, following its 4-16 season in 2012.
Nansemond River went 18-1 in the regular season this year, outscoring opponents 180-31 and was undefeated in the conference.
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Rogers deflected the credit for the coaching award to his players.
“The only thing that it really signifies is the fact that I’m just extremely lucky to have basically been handed this team,” he said. “Because they’re so good and they’re so successful, it makes me look good. Now, don’t get me wrong, I get in there and I work hard with them. It just displays how good they are.”
Junior outfielder Morgan Lowers had no doubt the honor went to the right person.
“He deserves it more than any coach out there,” she said. “That’s how I feel. I love him to death. He’s my favorite coach I’ve ever had,” including a field that spans her travel ball teams and teams from other sports like volleyball and track.
She said he drives his players to be passionate, because he leads by example in that department, and he is such a great coach because of his determination.
“His statement is, ‘We don’t lose,’” she said. “And when we do lose — I don’t know if he wants me to say this, but he’s cried before in front of us.”
Rogers expanded the spotlight to include the Nansemond River coaching staff.
“I’m getting the credit for what a lot of other people are doing between the players, Dave Glover, Mike Lowers and James Vann,” Rogers said. “Those guys are just as significant in the development of our team as I am.”
He praised their knowledge of the game, and explained the roles his assistant coaches play. Glover works with the pitchers and helped fuel the successful seasons of sophomore Lauren Maddrey and senior Jessie Rogers.
Mike Lowers works with and prepares the outfielders, contributing to the team’s excellent defense. He also directs the Lady Warriors’ pre-game warm-ups.
Vann prepares the younger girls on the school’s junior varsity team.
Putting the spotlight back on Rogers, Glover said, “We’ve got a lot of talented players here, but he certainly motivates them and gets the most out of them.”
Highlighting Rogers’ role, Glover said, “He runs the practices, he sets the lineup, he is clearly the head coach.”
Referring to himself and his staff, Rogers said, “That’s just a cohesive group of guys that enjoy the game of softball that work together collectively to help these girls be successful.”