Legendary Fort Vancouver Football Coach To Be Honored By Vancouver School District With ‘Gary Boggs Field’ At Kiggins Bowl
Written by Bryan Levesque on June 17, 2011
Tuesday the Board members of the Vancouver School District chose to honor the late Gary Boggs by naming the field at Kiggins Bowl, “Gary Boggs Field.”
Coach Boggs, who passed away in April of this year, was the Trappers head football coach from 1967-2000. Over his 34 years of service he won 163 games and 5 league championships while only coaching for the one school.
Kiggins Bowl was built in 1933 and was named after then Vancouver Mayor J.P. Kiggins. The Vancouver Trappers started playing football games there in 1946. Boggs walked the sidelines of Kiggins Bowl every Friday night in the fall for 34 of the stadium’s first 54 years as a football facility, all in Trapper Red.
“The Board decided to do this because Coach Boggs dedicated 34 years to the same school community,” said Mick Hoffman, the Director of Safety, Security & Athletics for Vancouver Public Schools. “Coach Boggs did not leave for other opportunities to compile wins when the school community changed at Fort Vancouver.”
New Trapper head football coach and former Boggs player Eric Ollikainen was very pleased when he found out about the field name change.
“I can’t think of a more fitting tribute for Coach Boggs,” said Ollikainen. ”I know that all of his former players already considered it ‘his field’ but it’s very nice to see that they are going to make it official now. Even before he passed away it was hard to walk the sidelines or pace the locker room at Kiggins Bowl without feeling his presence. He is as just as much a part of that place as the turf or the lights.”
Ollikainen’s former teammate at Fort Vancouver under Boggs, and current Strength and Defensive Line Coach at Skyview, Brad Packer feels personally honored by the move.
“It’s obviously a tremendous honor not only for the Boggs family, but for the Trapper family as well,” said Packer. “Coach Boggs orchestrated a lot of great football in the bowl, re-naming the field after a coach who dedicated his life to what happened under those lights couldn’t be more appropriate.”
Hoffman said that the Vancouver School District is working with the FieldTurf manufacturers to have inlays put into the field on each sideline with a “Gary Boggs Field” logo. Brad Boggs, one of coach Boggs’ sons who also played football for his dad at Fort Vancouver is working with Hoffman on the design.
With coach Boggs’ name woven into the Kiggins Bowl turf, future generations in Southwest Washington will have a constant reminder of what he stood for.
“He decided that teaching young men how to compete, how to be men, and how to appreciate competition was more important than winning games due to having overwhelming talent,” Hoffman went on to say. “When Fort Vancouver had talented players they won. When Fort Vancouver had good kids with lesser talent they won. They won because they learned the value of competition and working together with outstanding character. This was demonstrated by Coach Boggs every day.”
“I hope it gives current Trapper’s a sense of pride and accomplishment so they can know and understand Fort had a lot of success in years past,” added Packer. “I hope when they walk out to play on Gary Boggs Field they are reminded of that.”
Ollikainen will definitely use his position as Fort Vancouver’s current head football coach to let the new generation of Trappers know about Boggs.
“I hope future athletes in the area take the time to learn about Gary Boggs,” said Ollikainen. ”It’s nice to think that even decades from now kids will be asking about him. In fact, I can distinctly remember asking Boggs about Emmett Schroeder of Schroeder Field in Kelso. I guarantee my Trapper teams will learn about Gary Boggs and understand how he would want them to play on his field.”
Fort Vancouver opens the 2011 season at home as the first half of a Kiggins Bowl double header versus Ridgefield at 5 p.m. on September 2nd. Fort Vancouver Athletic Director John Griffin and Hoffman are in the planning stages of a special halftime dedication.