The view from Grandad Bluff
Remembering Roger Harring, our coach and friend
Dr. Troy D. Harcey ’98 alum, associate superintendent of instruction, School District of La Crosse.
Posted 5:50 a.m. Wednesday, Jan. 26, 2000
Few college football coaches will travel halfway across the world to see one of their former players.
Yet, that’s what Roger Harring did in 1997-98, when I was playing football in Italy for the Ancona Dolphins.
The week Coach Harring stayed with me in Italy, he shared countless stories. A common thread throughout the stories was how genuinely proud Coach was of his former players. He would speak of their accomplishments as caring and loving husbands, fathers and/or productive members of communities throughout Wisconsin, across the nation and around the world.
For Coach Harring, football was about much more than winning games — even though his teams’ successes on the gridiron are undeniable. It was about the people.
Those of us who played for Coach Harring felt the bitter sting and sincere heartache when we learned of his passing on Aug. 12, 2021. But the memories and lessons he was so eager to share continue to stick with us.
Coach Harring was known for providing teachable moments throughout any given practice. The lessons were not exclusively about football — he would communicate about how to be successful in all phases of life.
It was not uncommon for Coach to talk about the importance of reaching out to your family back home, remaining committed to your studies and working diligently through difficult circumstances. We would frequently end these sessions by having the team “bounce one off the bluff.” Through his mini-lessons, Coach Harring revealed the pathway to not only being better football players, but ultimately being better human beings.
When talking with fellow players, a variety of emotions and stories inevitably surface from our days at UWL. Yet, the resounding sentiment is a feeling of being profoundly fortunate.
We all feel fortunate that circumstances allowed us to know, learn from and play football for a tremendous person with profound character and mentorship — our coach and friend, Roger Harring.
Dr. Troy D. Harcey, ’98
Associate Superintendent of Instruction, School District of La Crosse
Wide receiver, 1993-96