Huddled in the locker room, young football players from Tubman Junior High School looked to one man for his rousing pregame speeches.
Coach Harvie Hogan’s pep talks inspired memorable wins that weren’t forgotten even as players grew older. Next week, teams coached by Hogan from 1957 to 1967 will gather for a reunion to share their most memorable stories of a coach, a friend and a father-figure.
Former player Sammy O’Banion remembers Tubman’s crushing win versus Langford Junior High School. Some players were sent to the hospital because the Tubman players fought so hard following Hogan’s pep talk.
“Coach Hogan was masterful at touching the hearts of young athletes. He was also very knowledgeable about where most of the athletes from Tubman Junior High School came from,” O’Banion said.
Tubman students were from the Harrisburg and Frog Hollow neighborhoods where mill workers and their families lived. Hogan reminded O’Banion and his teammates that even though the Langford players were from a more affluent area, they were all equal on the football field.
Many players have kept in touch with Hogan, 82, who still lives in Augusta, and planned the reunion to honor him for changing lives on the football field.
“We really had no one to look up to. He was our inspiration and our character builder. He kept a lot of us out of trouble,” said Charlie Beale, a player during the 1962 and 1963 seasons.