Former Wildcat Football Star Joe Rogers Passes Away

April 4, 2011

VILLANOVA, Pa. - Former Villanova football standout Joe Rogers passed away on Friday, April 1, at the age of 86. A 1950 Villanova graduate, Rogers played on the Main Line from 1946-49 and was an assistant football coach for the Wildcats from 1952-65. He also served as the interim head coach during the 1959 season.

A viewing will be held on Monday, April 4, from 6 to 9 p.m. at the Stretch Funeral Home in Havertown, Pa., (Eagle Road & St. Denis Road) and on Tuesday, April 5, from 9 to 10 a.m. on the Villanova campus in the St. Thomas of Villanova Church. The funeral mass will be held following the viewing at 10:30 a.m.

After graduating from Roman Catholic High School in Philadelphia, Rogers came to Villanova where he was a four-year standout. A multi-dimensional performer, Rogers led the Wildcats in both scoring and rushing in 1946 with seven touchdowns for 42 points and 90 carries for 620 yards. He also led the team in receiving in 1949 with 21 catches for 471 yards and three touchdowns. As a freshman in 1946, he averaged 6.9 yards per carry which ranked 12th nationally. He currently ranks 22nd on Villanova's career rushing list with 1,211 yards on 224 carries.

In a game against Detroit on Sept. 30, 1949, Rogers caught an 83-yard touchdown pass from Stephen Romanik. This play still ranks as the second longest pass play in Villanova football history.

During his four-year playing career, Villanova tallied a 28-10 record and played in two bowl games, including the 1947 Great Lakes Bowl (24-14 win over Kentucky) and the 1948 Harbor Bowl (27-7 loss to Nevada). Rogers was inducted into the Villanova Varsity Club Hall of Fame in 1979.

Rogers began his coaching career as the coach of the Wildcat freshman team in 1952. After three seasons with the freshmen squad, he was promoted to the backfield coach in 1955.

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