UPDATED: Duluth Marshall names Hogan football coach“His passion is definitely in coaching and he’s wanted to be a head coach for quite a while,” DeMeyer said. “He truly cares about the student-athletes he coaches and helps them understand how to reach their full potential, on and off the field. "
By: By Rick Weegman, Duluth News Tribune , Superior Telegram
As a former U.S. Army Ranger, Jim Hogan believes there are similarities he can transfer from his time in the armed forces to coaching a group of high school football players.
He’ll get that chance this fall at Duluth Marshall, which hired the 38-year-old Wednesday to replace longtime coach Dave Homstad.
“Football is the ultimate team sport; what I learned in football helped get me through the Army,” said Hogan, who takes over a team that has lost 17 consecutive games. “I told some of the players that there were times in the Army when life sucked, there’s no getting around it. I loved the men and I loved my service, but there were times you didn’t like it.
“But you looked to your left and looked to your right and realized it’s not about you, it’s about the other guys in uniform. It’s the same thing on a Friday night — if it’s the fourth quarter and you’re tired and don’t know if you have anything left, you look to your left and right and lay it on the line for those guys.”
The three-month search, led by incoming athletic director Kevin Snyder, concluded after 30 candidates from 10 states were considered.
“We really put our candidates through a rigorous interview process in hopes of finding the right fit for Marshall School,” Snyder said in a news release. “We believe we have done just that with the selection of coach Hogan to lead the Hilltoppers football program.”
Hogan, a UW-Superior graduate, spent five seasons as an assistant coach under Bob DeMeyer at Northwestern High School and — after a tour of duty in Iraq in 2007 — the past four years with DeMeyer at Superior High School. He says the Hilltoppers might take a few cues from those offenses, but expects the offense and defense to have its own look.
One aspect that will be different is how Marshall practices. Under Homstad, a disciple of St. John’s coach John Gagliardi’s style, the Hilltoppers didn’t hit during practice. A lack of overall numbers and numerous injuries didn’t help the past few years.
“Every coach has his own philosophy so I’m not going to say he was wrong in what he did,” Hogan said of Homstad, who is retiring as athletic director at the end of June. “But we are definitely going to be physical. He may have thought he couldn’t be physical because he didn’t have the numbers, but we’re going to tackle in practice and we’re going to tackle on Friday nights. Whether we have 15 or 50 kids, they are going to know how to tackle.”
DeMeyer has no doubts Hogan will enjoy success with his new coaching position.
“His passion is definitely in coaching and he’s wanted to be a head coach for quite a while,” DeMeyer said. “He truly cares about the student-athletes he coaches and helps them understand how to reach their full potential, on and off the field.
“We’ve been friends for more than 20 years and I don’t know another person who has more integrity than Jim Hogan. He knows the game of football, he knows how to prepare young men to play and he’ll get the most out of them. Marshall football will be competitive. He has vision for what he wants to do and where the program will be — it will happen.”
Hogan said current players might need to recruit prospects in the school hallways in order to ensure enough players come out this fall.
“We need to get every young man who is even thinking about playing football out for the team,” he said. “We have to boost the numbers, no doubt about it. I’ll have my work cut out for me in that regard.”
But Hogan, who teaches social studies at Superior High School and served as an instructor at West Point, says the job can be done.
“If we get some wins, that will get people excited. And if people get excited, they’ll want to be a part of something,” he said. “It’s going to be a work in progress, but I’m excited and looking to take it on at 100 miles an hour.”
Marshall’s gain is Superior’s loss.
“Our program lost a loyal coach,” DeMeyer said. “However, I’m very happy for him and proud of what he’s doing. Marshall could not have found a better man.”