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Robert H. “Bob” Bogdan

Man wearing a Bulldogs jersey

Bob Bogdan

A technology teacher from 1974 to 2002 and South High’s varsity baseball coach from 1980 to 2002, Robert “Bob” Bogdan impacted the lives of thousands of students. A native of Buffalo, N.Y., who served his country in Vietnam from 1965 to 1969 and won two Air Force Commendation Medals, Bob is still involved in baseball, and by next spring will have coached more than 1,500 total games, at least 500 each at the high school, American Legion and collegiate levels.

In his 23 years of coaching at South High, he led the Bulldogs to six Foothills Council titles and five Section II, Class B championships. His teams qualified for sectionals in 19 of his 23 seasons while compiling a 344-187-1 record. A five-time Coach of the Year, Bogdan never had a losing season, and his 344 wins are 11th most in Section II history. Besides the six Foothills Council titles, the Bulldogs finished second another eight times.

He started and coached the Mohican Post #553 American Legion team for 17 years, coaching more than 500 games and helping that team win four District IV titles, including three straight from 1990 to 1992.

In 2002, he became an assistant coach at Skidmore College, helping the Thoroughbreds to three Liberty League titles. In fact, the 2005 Skidmore team was inducted as a team on Sept. 24th into the Skidmore College Athletic Hall of Fame. He continues to volunteer as a coach at several area baseball clinics, and was an assistant coach with the Glens Falls Golden Eagles in 2005 and 2006.

Known to many as a coach — an excellent bowler, he was South High’s bowling coach from 1990 to 2004, and was modified football coach under varsity coach Larry Harland for 10 years — Bogdan is equally as proud of his work as a technology teacher.

Late in his teaching career, from 1998 to 2000, he spearheaded South High’s efforts as the nation’s pilot school in “Project Lead the Way,” a national program of rigorous and innovative STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) curricular programs designed to help prepare students to take courses that would prepare them to become engineers.

One of his students, Megan Leggett ’97, was selected to go to NASA space camp, and became a NASA engineer. Another student — Sara Kays ’99— also became an engineer after taking part in South High’s “Project Lead the Way.”

“To have two girls become engineers is a huge source of pride for me,” he said, “knowing that was the primary goal of the program. Those last seven or eight years at South High were the greatest of my teaching career. It rejuvenated me.”

Donald Woodworth, the longtime principal at Oliver W. Winch Junior High School who, along with school superintendent Bill Wetherbee, hired Bogdan as a teacher, said, “Bob Bogdan was a dedicated professional — no-nonsense and strict, yet sensitive and caring of each students’ needs. He was a teacher and coach anyone would want for their child.”

In nominating his former coach, Ken Powers said, “As a coach and educator, Coach Bogdan exemplified all of the characteristics a young person should follow. He taught us all to work hard, and to work smart. He emphasized the importance of family, school and spirituality as staples in the creation of a good sportsman…In a time when all sorts of coaches of specialized clinics and complexes are taking your money in the name of the sport, Coach is still doing it for free because he understands the importance of community, and he loves the game. Thanks to his former players and assistants, generations of children all over the country are growing up learning “Coach Boogie Bogdan Baseball.”

Mr. Bogdan and his wife of 41 years, Sharon, have two children, Adam and Jason. Adam, along with his wife Kristen, is a teacher in Hudson Falls. Jason works in logistics at Irving Tissue.