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'He was a mentor to me': Former Middle Georgia basketball coach Ben Rogers is remembered for his impact on the court and in the community

The Middle Georgia State University head coach was also remembered as an active member of the community and a mentor for so many.

COCHRAN, Ga. — Ben Rogers, a former basketball coach at Middle Georgia College's campus in Cochran, died on April 4. He was 85 years old.

For nearly 30 years, Rogers taught in the classrooms on the Middle Georgia College campus in Cochran as a math professor. When he wasn't teaching numbers, he was helping the men's basketball team score championships for the then-MGC Warriors. 

"He was a mentor to me. [He was] someone I could really trust, and when I had problems, I could go and talk to him," said Scott Moe, the current head coach of the program that Rogers previously led. "That was really important to me at the time." 

While they've gone from the Middle Georgia College Warriors to the Middle Georgia State University Knights, Moe said that the mark that Rogers made on the program still lives on today.

"We will definitely miss him and it's sad to see him go," Moe said. "The legacy and mark he left on MGC will never be forgotten."

While at the helm of the MGC Warriors, Rogers won 468 games as the all-time school wins leader. 

He also took the Warriors to seven conference championships and two region championships between 1968 to when he retired in 1997. His work helped preserve the legacy of the Middle Georgia program. 

"Ben was Middle Georgia College. There were two guys at the time that were here. That's baseball coach Robert Sapp and Ben Rogers," Moe said. "When you talk about Middle Georgia -- this school -- that's the names they associate with this school." 

Harris made the NJCAA national tournament in 1978 and 1980 and inducted into the NJCAA basketball hall of fame in Hutchinson, Kansas in 1998, but Moe says it was even better mentor and friend, who will be greatly missed. 

"He was also a big part of Cochran. He was a deacon at First Baptist Church. He was a good man. He was a great man. He was my mentor, but he was my friend," Moe said. "Most people in this town and community will tell you that who Ben Rogers was." 

He is survived by his daughter Jackie and son Benji.

Middle Georgia State University Cochran library is creating a memorial display of the history of Coach Rogers. It will be open to the public beginning April 18.

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