Bluefield University in the News

BOGDAN READY TO RELINQUISH CLAIM TO FAME

by | Jun 4, 2010

Alumnus Richard J. "Dick" Bogdan never knew his claim to fame would be scoring the last touchdown for Bluefield College football. It's a claim he's ready to relinquish.

Alumnus Richard J. “Dick” Bogdan never knew his claim to fame would be scoring the last touchdown for Bluefield College football. It’s a claim he’s ready to relinquish.

Bogdan came to Bluefield in the fall of 1941 on a football scholarship. After four years of stellar play for Wilbur Lynch High School in Amsterdam, New York, including three years as a starting quarterback and running back, BC’s Coach Tony Lotito invited him to join the Ramblin’ Reds.

“Coach Lotito was a great guy,” said Bogdan. “He was very emotional. He would get all excited and really give it to us at halftime. You had to love him. He loved football, and he loved us, and we loved him.”

Bogdan played just one season for the Ramblin’ Reds, starting every game, playing the first four games with a concussion, and scoring the team’s last touchdown in a win over Rio Grande College during the 1941 campaign.

It would be his last as most of the players on the BC football team were called to active duty in World War II. In fact, the war took nearly all the young men on the Bluefield campus, forcing the school to abandon its football program after the 1941 season.

“I never thought about it too much,” said Bogdan about the prospect of his touchdown being the school’s last, “but over time I realized, ‘by golly, I scored the last touchdown for Bluefield College.'”

He’ll soon lose that claim to fame and gladly, thanks to an announcement by BC officials on June 4, 2010 that football will be returning to campus after 69 years of absence. More touchdowns will be scored for the Reds, now Rams, and Bogdan will have to be known for his many other successes.

While a student at BC, in addition to football, he ran track and was a member of the Varsity Club and the Newman Club for students of the Catholic faith. He also worked in the dining hall to help pay for his tuition, room, and board.

“I enjoyed my time at Bluefield,” he said. “Dr. [Edwin C.] Wade was president at the time, and he was such a nice man. Coming from New York to Virginia was quite an experience, but it was fun. It was such a friendly place.”

After serving the U.S. Navy Corps for four years during World War II, Bogdan attended Albany Business College and then Sienna College in New York. He earned a bachelor’s degree in economics and business administration and a master’s degree in secondary education from Siena, before becoming an instructor and later a full professor at Albany.

He also coached basketball for 20 years and was the athletics director at Albany Business College, retiring from that work in 1985 to pursue another passion, golf. In fact, he created Custom Golf in 1986 to manufacture and repair custom golf clubs. In that endeavor he earned acceptance into the Club Makers Hall of Fame in 2008 and a Distinguished Service Award for the New England/New York Division of the Pro Golfers Association.

Now 87 years old and living in Schenectady, New York, Bogdan said he’s excited about the prospect of relinquishing his touchdown claim to fame. He also shared a little advice to the next generation of Ramblin’ Reds.

“Play the game like it’s meant to be played,” he urged the newcomers. “Be a good winner and a good loser, and remember it’s only a game.”

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