Bob Wogan, Rochester


Bob Wogan, Rochester

Although Dave Fredette has presided over Armada boys tennis teams for the past 59 seasons (this is not a misprint), Jerry Murphy isn’t far behind. He has directed Rochester boys squads for a mere 52 campaigns. Dave turned 82 during the fall; Jerry is only 75.  For some of us who are long in the tooth and as a result, dropped out of coaching high school tennis years ago, this is pretty jaw-dropping. (Note to Peter and Gary: this is not quite a mixed metaphor).


However, the years take their toll on the body and Jerry is no exception. He underwent knee replacement surgery during the summer which severely limited his ability to stand on the court and feed tennis balls. Participating in scrimmage sets during practices when a fourth was needed was both impossible and probably forbidden, both by the doctor and his body (which never lies).


But up stepped Bob Wogan who has been helping Jerry as assistant varsity coach for the last 17 years. He had volunteered to help the girls program because his daughter Kelli was on the team in 2007 but stayed on with the girls after she graduated in 2009. He switched to helping with the boys in 2014 when he accepted the job as Rochester’s JV baseball coach. He continues to coach both sports which puts him squarely amidst the school’s athletic program in both the spring and fall seasons.


Bob has always fulfilled many of the program’s needs. An accountant by profession, he has kept detailed records of both the team and the squad’s opponents, a big help when it comes time to seed in conference and regional tournaments. But when Jerry was physically sidelined this past fall, he stepped up to participate even more in drills and scrimmages. After all, he plays on two USTA teams in the summers “and brings these experiences to practice,” says Jerry.


But perhaps Bob’s greatest contribution is what he does to foster team unity. In an individual sport which puts together prima donnas, normal kids, and those with emotional challenges, he strives to get them together with games such as the Frosty Challenge. “It’s also good for team bonding,” he says  I create Frosty Upgrades for either a winner of drill challenge at practice, individual challenge for a match or team challenge such as beating Rochester Adams where everyone could get an upgrade if we won. I typically have 25 ‘challenges’ each season. I keep track of the number of upgrades each player earned during the season on a master sheet.  Near the end of the season we all head to Wendy’s across from the high school to get their food.”


The more the upgrades, the larger the Frosty and other stuff on the menu. “It’s been a fun thing over the years and the players seem to look forward to it and always ask to review my master sheet during the season to see where they stand,” he says.


A self-taught player from Beverly Hills Groves, Bob didn’t take up the game until after his junior year in high school. He got serious after college, playing USTA league tennis at a 4.5-5.0 level. In his 60s, he is still at it, vying for state championships.


“He is a big reason why our team went from last in the OAA Red dual meet season to fourth in the state.”        ----- Jerry Murphy, Rochester Varsity Coach


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