Everyone has heard the phrase “God made me do it.”
But rarely do you hear those words uttered so often when it comes to football than when they fly off the lips of new Maranatha High School football coach Steve Bogan.
Want to know how one of the Valley’s best-ever coaches winds up at tiny Maranatha? He prayed on it. Wondering whether a four-time CIF champion coach like Bogan is truly concerned about adding another ring to his pile? It will happen if God wills it.
Those are the themes of Bogan’s sentiments as he starts what very likely will be the final chapter of a career that’s seen him win more CIF titles than most of his colleagues can dream of, more league titles than one man deserves and enough games to ensure area fans will remember his name for a long time.
“For me, it seemed like the lord was saying ‘Go do this,'” Bogan said while winding down after holding one of the first fall practices of what he hopes will be a productive tenure at Maranatha based on winning and spirituality.
“It’s been a really enjoyable experience, so far. No negatives, so far.”
The new, rejuvenated Bogan coaching on a field lined with pine trees with a koi pond nearby is a refreshing sight for those closest his to him. When he resigned from South Hills in January of 2012, Bogan was a shadow of the charming, energetic and positive coach that most knew him to be during a wildly successful 20-year run with the Huskies.
Instead, he seemed to be a man worn down by the rigors and dramas of running a present day top-flight high school football program. After a very public spat with CIF over the eligibility of some controversial player transfers was followed by back-to-back 3-7 seasons, it became very clear that Bogan needed a break.
“I was burned out, I’m not going to deny that,” Bogan said. “It’s kind of like with a computer when you check the battery and it says 25 percent. When I checked it, it said one percent and I was like okay, let’s juice the battery again.
“Things were bothering me the last few years there that I would say 10 years ago wouldn’t have bothered me. It’s part of being human. It was time to step away, but I’m in a different place now.”
Bogan sat out the 2012 season and was South Hills’ freshmen team coach last fall. When former Maranatha coach Jude Oliva left following last season, Bogan and Minutemen athletic director Brian DeHaan talked and the prayed about the opening.
“It may sound weird to people, but we both prayed on it,” Bogan said. “When I prayed about it, it was just something right.”
Bogan describes himself as an “inclusive Evangelical Christian.” Maranatha’s spiritual backdrop made the two a perfect fit. Plus, it helps that Maranatha is making a push to become one of the area’s top athletic schools and Bogan, one of the best coaches around, just happened to be available. He will remain a teacher at South Hills and commute to Maranatha’s Pasadena campus each day for practice before returning home to Walnut.
Maranatha went 8-3 last season and won the Olympic League. The Minutemen are thin on numbers this season with a smallish roster that does include several talented players for Bogan to work with.
With a whopping 31 postseason wins and 13 league titles to his credit at South Hills, it’s not hard to see why Maranatha fans are thinking big things are in store for their program.
But for Bogan the success of this phase of his career won’t necessarily be judged by wins and losses. Nor will the lofty expectations of others weigh on his mind. Determining Maranatha’s success, as one might expect, will come in far more divine ways than just wins and losses.
“The goal is to be part of the team that God wants and take it to the level that God wants it to be,” Bogan said. “If that’s just a great, small Christian high school that’s competitive, then that’s what He wants it to be. If that’s something different, then that’s what we want it to be.
“Wins, league titles and CIF championships, they can be in the mix, but those are indicators. You do set goals, He want us to. But they’re open ended. I want to do it better at Maranatha than I ever did at South Hills.”