Hogan's retirement was surprising but well deserved

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Last week's announcement that longtime Southeast Missouri State baseball coach Mark Hogan was retiring took me by surprise.

But upon further reflection, maybe it shouldn't have.

Hogan, after all, will turn 60 in December and he has been a head coach for 31 years, including the last 18 at Southeast.

Counting his time as an assistant, Hogan has been in the profession 34 years. That's quite a run any way you slice it.

I figured Hogan probably would stick around at least a few more years since he's in good shape physically and in good health.

Although the 2012 Redhawks posted their worst record under Hogan, he seemed to be enjoying the game and gave no outward indications during the year that the season might be his last.

But after all Hogan has accomplished, if he wanted a break from coaching, then he certainly deserves it. He definitely deserves the opportunity to spend more time with his wonderful family that includes wife Becky, their three daughters and two young grandchildren.

The 2012 season shouldn't tarnish what was a fabulous career, both at Southeast and at his other stops, Lurleen Wallace (Ala.) Junior College and Division II West Alabama.

Hogan, the winningest baseball coach in Southeast history, finished with a 526-456-1 record at his alma mater. He led the program to its only Ohio Valley Conference championships -- the regular-season title in 1998 and tournament crowns in 1998 and 2002 -- and to the program's only NCAA Division I tournament berths (1998 and 2002).

Hogan, a Cape Girardeau native and Central High School graduate, led Southeast to the OVC tournament for 18 consecutive seasons, which is a conference record.

Hogan has a 31-year coaching record of 911-713-3. You win more than 900 games on any level and you're doing something right.

I had a fabulous working relationship with Hogan, who I consider a friend, and wish him nothing but the best in the future.

Whoever eventually takes over the Southeast baseball program on a permanent basis will have big shoes to fill.

Steve Bieser, a Southeast assistant the past two years and a former star player at the university, was named interim coach for the 2013 season. The university will conduct a national search for Hogan's replacement after next season, and Bieser will have an opportunity to be a candidate for the permanent position.

Bieser, a former major-leaguer, compiled a 137-51 record in seven seasons at Vianney High School in St. Louis and won two state titles before coming to Southeast.

Bieser is well respected in the coaching community, and I wouldn't be surprised if Bieser ends up being Hogan's permanent replacement.

But I also wouldn't be surprised if the university decides to look elsewhere to fill a job that no doubt will attract plenty of highly qualified applicants.

The two former Southeast baseball stars from local high schools who were selected by Atlanta in this year's major league amateur draft are both having impressive seasons.

Trenton Moses, a third baseman from Advance High School who was Atlanta's 26th-round draft pick, has been on a recent tear for the Advanced Rookie-level Danville Braves.

Moses is batting .307 (27 for 88) with three home runs, seven doubles, 15 RBIs and 14 runs scored. He has a .351 on-base percentage and a .489 slugging percentage.

Shae Simmons, a Scott City High School graduate who was the Braves' 22nd-round draft pick, recently was promoted to Danville. He has not given up an earned run all year.

Simmons is 0-1 with Danville, allowing an unearned run and four hits over four innings covering three appearances. He has struck out seven and walked two. He picked up his first professional save for Danville with a scoreless ninth inning Saturday.

Simmons began the season with the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League Braves. He did not allow an earned run over 14 1/3 innings covering seven appearances, including one start. He was 2-0 with 15 strikeouts, eight walks and five hits allowed.

Marty Mishow is a sports writer for the Southeast Missourian.

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