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Former Bulldog Rogers on College Football Hall of Fame Ballot

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The late Darryl Rogers, who ruffled feathers locally when he bolted from Fresno State in the early 1970s, is on the 2022 College Football Hall of Fame ballot.

Rogers, a former Bulldogs wide receiver, became Fresno State’s head coach in 1966. He led the Bulldogs to a 43-32-1 record, with six winning seasons and two bowl appearances. He then left Fresno State to take the top job at arch-rival San Jose State.

His decision stunned many Bulldogs fans but at the time San Jose State offered a better recruiting base and invested more in its program than Fresno State — even though both competed in the Pacific Coast Athletic Association.

Rogers’ intuition about switching jobs paid off as his success with the Spartans led to him becoming head coach at Michigan State, where he was the Big Ten coach of the year in 1977 and the Sporting News national coach of the year in 1978.

‘What Does a Coach Have to Do to Get Fired?’

Rogers later coached at Arizona State (1980-84) before returning to Michigan to take the Detroit Lions head coaching job. The Lions went 7-9 in Rogers’ first season but struggled after that. He finished his Lions stint with an 18-40 record.

With the Lions, Rogers famously wisecracked, “What does a coach have to do around here to get fired?”

Rogers enjoyed his greatest success at Arizona State, leading the Sun Devils to a 37-18-1 record highlighted by a Fiesta Bowl victory. His overall college coaching record was 129-84-7 over 20 seasons.

Post-NFL, Rogers coached Winnipeg in the Canadian Football League for the 1991 season. The Blue Bombers went 9-9, losing in the Eastern Conference finals.

A standout wide receiver at Fresno State, Rogers was selected by the Los Angeles Rams late in the 1957 draft. However, he enlisted in the U.S. Marines and continued playing football as a Leatherneck.

Rogers Died in 2018

When his coaching days ended, Rogers and his wife, Marsha, returned to the Fresno area. By then, bitterness by Bulldogs fans had faded and Rogers often regaled local sports groups with his football stories and sense of humor.

Rogers passed away peacefully of natural causes on July 11, 2018, at his home in Friant. He was 84.

Rogers is joined on the NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision 2022 coaches ballot by Larry Blakeney, Jim Carlen, Pete Cawthon Sr., Larry Coker, Billy Jack Murphy, and Gary Pinkel.

The announcement of the 2022 College Football Hall of Fame Class will be made in early 2022.

The complete ballot of players and coaches is at this link.

Rogers was also on the 2019 College Football Hall of Fame ballot.

Bill McEwen is news director and columnist for GV Wire. He joined GV Wire in August 2017 after 37 years at The Fresno Bee. With The Bee, he served as Opinion Editor, City Hall reporter, Metro columnist, sports columnist and sports editor through the years. His work has been frequently honored by the California Newspapers Publishers Association, including authoring first-place editorials in 2015 and 2016. Bill and his wife, Karen, are proud parents of two adult sons, and they have two grandsons. You can contact Bill at 559-492-4031 or at Send an Email

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