2017-'18 Season Coverage
updated: 1/13/2014 10:27 PM

Two soccer stantouts among 2014 STC Harrison recipients

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One was the first boys soccer standout in school history.

Another was a goalie who led the boys soccer team to a supersectional berth in the fourth year of the program's existence.

The third was an all-state golfer who played on the state's second-place team and later went on to guide the girls golf team to a pair of state championships as its head coach.

The other was a 2-sport athlete who served as team captain and achieved all-conference and all-state recognition during his junior and senior seasons.

Their names are Gary Cole, Chris Hagemann, Rod Osborne and Brian Rogers, and they're the 2014 inductees to the St. Charles East Fighting Saints' Hall of Fame.

The Jodie Harrison Lifetime Achievement Award recipients will be honored prior to Saturday's 6 p.m. boys basketball game between St. Charles North and St. Charles East.

Gary Cole (Class of 1981)

Cole shares an honor with a select few -- he played in the Saints' first-ever soccer match in 1979.

"I had recently moved to St. Charles from New Jersey where high school soccer was pretty big," said Cole. "We had started the local Celtics Soccer Club in 1978."

Manicured fields and large crowds were far from the norm during the early years of high school soccer in St. Charles.

"The fields we played on were brutal," said Cole. "They were like cow pastures. Soccer was not very big at all back then. We barely scrapped together a team."

Coached by 2005 St. Charles East Hall of Fame inductee Tim Dailey, the Saints posted a respectable 8-11-1 record during their inaugural season.

"He was an excellent speaker, good communicator and motivator," Cole said of Dailey.

During his senior season, Cole earned Most Valuable Player honors as the team's captain and leading scorer.

The forward led the Saints to a 13-6-2 mark in 1980 and scored the team's first game-winning playoff goal against West Aurora.

"I felt pretty honored to play in the school's first soccer game in 1979," said Cole. "We played our first night game in 1980."

Cole, who owns his advertising business -- Gary Cole Design -- went on to play collegiately at Waubonsee Community College and Western Illinois University.

The 51-year-old organizes the St. Charles/St. Charles East alumni soccer game played annually with proceeds donated to the Lazurus House.

"I still like to play," said Cole. "Soccer is still a huge part of my life. I'm a Chicago Fire season ticket holder and I attend many high school games. I'm just a soccer nut."

Chris Hagemann (Class of 1983)

Before his junior year, Hagemann was approached by Saints coach Tim Dailey and Celtics coach Bob Heilman about making a position switch.

"They asked if I would play goalie," said Hagemann. "I just wanted to play. It seemed like the right fit."

It certainly turned out to be a good move for both Hagemann and the Saints.

As a junior, Hagemann led the team to a 17-5-1 record.

The next year, he played on the team that compiled a 26-game unbeaten streak (23-0-3) before a multi-overtime (penalty kicks) loss to Malta in the supersectional.

"It was a brutal loss," admitted Hagemann. "If we had won, we would have played perennial powerhouse Granite City South in the Final 8. Granite City went on to win the state title."

The year before ended with an equally disappointing postseason loss to Hinckley-Big Rock.

Hagemann enjoyed playing for Dailey.

"He was fantastic," Hagemann said. "He was committed and dedicated. He had a strong influence on me and several other kids growing up."

Hagemann attended Eastern Illinois University but transferred to Wheaton College after Panthers coach Schellas Hyndman left to become the head coach at SMU.

At Wheaton, Hagemann blossomed as the team's goalkeeper.

In 1984, he recorded 13 shutouts while leading the Crusaders to the NCAA Division III national championship -- a 2-1 sudden-death OT win over Brandeis. He collected 12 more shutouts in 1985 as Wheaton advanced to the second round of the Division III tourney.

"What I remember most about playing in high school and college was the selflessness of both teams," said Hagemann. "Everyone was there for one purpose -- to win."

Rod Osborne (Class of 1969)

Osborne etched his name into the St. Charles athletic history book long before he took over as its girls golf coach 24 years ago.

As a junior, he played on the Saints' golf team that placed seventh in the state in 1968. During his senior year, he was a key member of the Saints' state runner-up squad that placed second to Belleville West by 2 strokes (628-630) in 1969.

"It wasn't decided until freshman Jay Haas came in with a 79 for Belleville," said Osborne of Haas, who went on to play professionally on the PGA and Senior PGA Tour.

Osborne, who played collegiately at the University of New Mexico, was named as the Saints' girls golf coach in 1990.

"Jodie Harrison was the one who gave me a chance," Osborne said of the former Saints athletic director who passed away in an auto accident while returning from a high school softball game in 1991. "I just wish he had been around to see the results."

In his second season at the helm, the Saints placed fourth in the state.

"I had a young team my first year with six freshmen, five sophomores and two juniors," recalled Osborne. "When those freshmen became seniors, they were state champs."

Led by Megan Morgan and Ashley Webb, the Saints took second in the state in 1992 before their championship season in 1993 -- by 53 shots over second-place Rockford Guilford.

Six years later, Osborne guided the team to another state title in 1999. The Saints also placed second in 1998 and finished third in 1997.

"We did so well in the beginning that it created interest around the community and at school," said Osborne, whose teams have included other notable players like Leslie Webb, Sarah Johnston, Stacy Springer, Jenny Reints, Kate Scafuri, Kelly Calkin, Nicole Rae, Jenny Niemiec and Rachael Edwards.

Osborne, a 2010 inductee into the Illinois High School Golf Coaches Hall of Fame, recently concluded his 24th season as Saints head coach.

Brian Rogers (Class of 1987)

Rogers earned all-conference honors in both football and basketball during his junior and senior seasons at St. Charles in 1985 and 1986.

As a junior, the quarterback guided the Saints to an unblemished 9-0 regular-season record before a tough 21-19 first-round playoff loss to Schaumburg and quarterback Paul Justin (went on to play with the Chicago Bears).

"We lost with 1:30 left," said Rogers.

As a senior, the Saints finished 8-2 after another heartbreaking first-round playoff loss -- this time a 27-24 decision to East Moline United.

"We were up 24-21 with 2 minutes remaining," said Rogers.

On the basketball court, the forward played on the varsity team as a sophomore before enjoying a superb junior campaign.

"We started out 19-0 my junior year," said Rogers, who was joined on the team by Kirk Nelson, Dave Drawer, Mike Lowe, Andy Hendrickson, Mike Davison, Mark Thompson and Jesse Powell. "We won the regional over Elgin."

During his prep career, Rogers had the privilege to play for two St. Charles coaching legends in Buck Drach and Ron Johnson.

"Buck turned everything around for the football program," said Rogers, who played collegiately at Illinois State. "I would have never gotten the scholarship to Illinois State without him. He was a great coach and is an even better person. I have deep respect for him.

"Ron was one of the best coaches in the area," added Rogers. "He was the type of coach who didn't want to yell. When he did yell, it felt like you just let your dad or grandpa down."

Rogers also credited then-assistant coaches Rob Prentiss, Mark Gould, Mike Powers, Rick Butcher, Ron Shoger and Jim Parker for molding him during his high school years.

Rogers, who lives in St. Charles, currently works as a Midwest sales manager for Lexmark International.

His children, Kirsten and Ben, attend Wredling Middle School and will soon follow their dad's footsteps to St. Charles East.

You can reach Craig Brueske at csb4k@hotmail.com

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