Howie Vogts: Forever Remembered


Howie C. Vogts was the man that made Bethpage heard not only on Long Island but throughout the nation. We became known as a powerhouse in football thanks to him. Coach Vogts was born in 1929 and first came to Bethpage in 1952 after graduating Adelphi. Vogts started the football program at Bethpage High School in the fall of 1952, when he was 21 years old. In their first season, Bethpage played a freshman schedule at the new school. In 1953, Bethpage had a predominantly junior varsity schedule. However, on September 30, 1953, the Golden Eagles played their first varsity football game against St. Dominic’s and lost 13-0. In 1954, Bethpage became a full-fledged varsity program. On Saturday, October 2, 1954, the Golden Eagles recorded the first varsity win when they defeated Wantagh (at Bethpage), 20-7, in the season opener. In 1966 Vogts coached one year at Michigan State. He learned a lot of ideas from his one year there.

Under Vogts’ direction, the Golden Eagles have made the Nassau County playoffs 25 times since 1970, and every year since the playoff system expanded to four teams in 1984. Vogts’ teams have won 29 regular season league or Conference Championships, 13 Conference Playoff Championships (ten since 1984), three Rutgers Cups, and five Long Island titles. Bethpage has had one Thorp Award winner, Dennis Macholz in 1968. Coach Vogts has had 39 winning seasons, only nine losing seasons, and three .500 seasons. In Vogts’ first 23 seasons (1953–1976) his teams were 96-75-7 for a winning percentage of .557. Since then (1977–2005), Vogts’ teams have had a Nassau County record 30 consecutive winning seasons, with an astonishing record of 246-39-3 (.865 winning percentage). Mr. McCoy who is an assistant coach at Bethpage said, “Without him, I don’t know where the program would be”. On October 12, 2002, Vogts became the first high school football coach in New York State with 300 wins as Bethpage defeated Lynbrook, 37-0. In April 2005, Vogts was nominated as one of eight finalists for the National Football Coach of the Year honors given by the National High School Athletic Coaches Association. On November 10, 2007, Vogts extended his winning record to 350 wins as Bethpage defeated Plainedge 44-6. Mr. Hayes a physics teacher who used to be the JV coach back in the nineties said, “ he was calm, cool, and collective. Just watching him coach made me a better person.”

Howie unfortunately died of congestive heart failure on August 10, 2010, at Mercy Hospital in Rockville Centre. Over a 1,000 people attended his funeral. Our high school field has now been renamed after him.

He forever will be a legend in our hearts.