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December 13, 2013

A Coach, A Mentor, A Friend, An Example

Joe Charlebois

Sometimes there are people you meet in life that you aspire to be like. One of those people for me is Dave Fogle. In the short amount of time that I knew him, he impressed me with his passion to teach and intense dedication to welfare of others.


His greatest contributions of time and effort were typically through youth sports. Dave passed away on Monday at his home in Frederick, Maryland at the age of 66.


Dave was constantly giving to the organizations he cared about. This included his church. Though we were members of the same church for the past 18 years, I rarely ran into him because we attended different services. He served as a church council member as well as an usher.


He donated his time to the Lion’s Club, American Legion and Gov. Thomas Johnson High School Booster Club, but his greatest love was coaching baseball from the youth level at Frederick National Little League and Frederick Babe Ruth to the teenagers and young men of TJ High, American Legion FSK Post 11 and Frederick Community College.


His coaching career was interrupted briefly when, in the fall of 2005, it was discovered that he had colon cancer. Months later he managed to join his American Legion team for a Christmas tournament at Disney World in between chemotherapy treatments.


In his 32 years of coaching youth baseball, I am certain that he touched thousands of young men’s lives. My son David was lucky to have spent this past summer playing for Coach Fogle on the Frederick National Little League’s 11/12 All-Star tournament team. My son had a solid tournament – but not spectacular. As the tournament ended for us and we went to wrap up another season, Coach Fogle approached me and was as usual nothing but positive. We talked briefly about David’s play and what his future plans were with TJ High and possibly playing American Legion ball.


Coach told me he could see a lot of potential in David outside just the skill set that will make him successful. He mentioned his hustle, desire, willingness to be coached and the fact that he provided an example of leadership that you can’t teach. “He’s one of my favorites,” he said. I selfishly was hoping that Coach Fogle would be in the stands and follow David’s path through the next levels of baseball, just like he had done for many before him, but we’ll never get that chance.


In April of 2010 Coach Fogle was interviewed by Stan Goldberg for The Frederick News-Post. In the article coach was quoted as saying: “I'm a career assistant, that's what I've been…If I die and people think of me like that, I will be happy."


Being the manager of a team was not the focus of Coach Fogle’s desire.  He was a career assistant because he could focus on teaching. His love was taking potential and bringing it out and making it shine. We never just thought of Coach Fogle as a “career assistant,” but rather as a teacher, mentor, and friend. I’m sure he’d be happy with those titles as well.


Dave Fogle was a member of the Frederick County YMCA Alvin G. Quinn Sports Hall of Fame committee. It’s time he is one of its honorees.


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