Ryan Rogers’ joy of bringing people together will live at Huston School Park in Falmouth, where the two basketball courts have been named in his honor and where his family plan to keep his legacy alive through upgrades and tournaments.
Ryan, Falmouth High School State Basketball Champion and Assistant Men’s Basketball Coach at St. Joseph’s College in Standish, died in April at the age of 28 from glioblastoma, a form aggressive brain cancer.
Last month, Falmouth City Council approved the Ryan Rogers Memorial Courts in the park as a tribute to him.
“Throughout his life, Ryan has spent several hundred hours playing with his family and friends on the basketball courts at Huston School Park,” the resolution reads.
“He really lived on these courts,” said his father, Chris Rogers.
His family plans to endow a foundation for the annual upkeep and maintenance of the courts and for upgrades including repainting and painting, new baskets, fencing and lighting. They plan to hold annual 3v3 tournaments and penalty shootout contests for boys and girls. Chris Rogers has said he expects renovations to begin next month and hopes to kick off the first tournament this summer.
They are also working to set up a scholarship fund in Ryan’s name for students in financial need at Collège Saint-Joseph.
Ryan and his cousin, EJ Rogers, born two days apart, started playing basketball with friends at Huston School Park in college.
“Ryan really wanted to bring all kinds of people together,” said EJ Rogers. “He created an environment where many friendships were formed. “
“He was the guy who always organized the games. They would play for hours and hours, ”said Chris Rogers. “As the oldest of four children who all played basketball, he was a spectacular athlete. “
Her cousin said Ryan’s pickup games helped everyone stay out of trouble.
“The courts have created a safe space to foster healthy and productive relationships,” he said.
For Ryan, playing on the Huston fields was “so much more important than the game itself,” said EJ Rogers. “Everything we do is aimed at keeping a sense of community alive. “
During his final year at Falmouth High School in 2010, Ryan was the co-captain of the varsity basketball team that won the Class B State Championship.
“Ryan was a great person. He had the zest for life, ”said Dave Halligan, who coached varsity basketball and soccer at Falmouth High School for 36 years.
After high school, Rogers completed a year of graduate school at Bridgton Academy, then attended Salve Regina University in Newport, Rhode Island. During his final year at Salve Regina, he was diagnosed with a brain tumor.
“He had a seizure,” his father said. “The doctors ended up doing several tests and he was on the operating table three days later.”
After nine months of radiation and chemotherapy, Ryan was cancer free. He returned to Salve Regina and graduated in 2017.
That same spring, he became a volunteer Assistant basketball coach at Saint Joseph’s College of Maine. He simultaneously coached AAU teams and volunteered with youth basketball clinics.
“What I admired about Ryan was his ability to find joy everywhere,” said Rob Sanicola, head coach of men’s basketball at Saint Joseph’s. “This gift was given with a smile. Most of the time, it was with a quick-witted joke. He definitely shared his gift of joy with our players, our coaches and finally my two boys, and that’s what I’m most grateful for.
EJ Rogers said his cousin “was one of the funniest guys and had a joke with everyone.”
Ryan pursued a master’s degree at Saint-Joseph and was hired as an admissions officer in the spring of 2020, while continuing to coach.
Her cancer returned the following September, but her faith in God was unwavering, her father said.
“It’s one of the things that we really lean on now while having to fight the fact that he passed away at the age of 28. Knowing that he died with his faith brings immense comfort to us, ”said Chris Rogers.
Donations in Ryan’s honor to the Maine Children’s Cancer Program have reached over $ 29,000, he said.
The Rogers family will continue to host the annual Edward Rogers Memorial Golf Tournament in Poland in honor of Ryan’s grandfather who died of cancer 20 years ago. The tournament, which raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for the Maine Children’s Cancer Program, will also be held in honor of Ryan this year, his father said.
Charitable donations in memory of Ryan can be sent to Ashton Hunter-Sildve at the Maine Children’s Cancer Program, 22 Bramhall St, Portland, ME 04102.
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