Bobby Vogel, Auburn High School’s basketball team manager, number one fan and local hero, died Sept. 26.
Vogel, who was 78 at the time of his death, will be missed dearly by everyone who knew him, Auburn High School basketball coach Ryan Hansen said.
About 20 years ago, when Hansen became the coach of Auburn’s High School’s basketball team, Vogel was just their number one fan, Hansen said.
The athletic director at the time told Hansen that Vogel showed up to every game and loved the school, Hansen said. At that point, Hansen decided to hire Vogel as the team manager.
“I invited Bobby to be a part of our program and be our official manager,” Hansen said. “So Bobby’s been our manager for 19 years, and I was fortunate enough to really get to know Bobby well and hang out with him a lot over the years.”
Since Vogel became the manager 19 years ago, he has never missed a game, and only missed around 10 practices, Hansen said. Vogel brought joy to the players and coaches alike, Hansen said.
“Bobby rarely had a bad day. He was just one of those guys who had a really loving personality and loved people,” Hansen said. “He would go out of his way to meet anyone new and make them feel welcomed.”
Vogel moved to Auburn when he was a baby, but due to a developmental delay, he was never given the chance to go to school. In 2011, Auburn High gave Vogel an honorary degree in recognition of the contributions he made over the years.
Vogel’s love extended beyond the team or the school. He loved the Auburn community that surrounded him as well, Hansen said.
“He had a heart for our community, he loved Auburn High School, he loved Auburn. He often would say to me, ‘I found a good town didn’t I?’ So he had a lot of pride in our community,” Hansen said.
Hansen said Vogel worked well with Auburn High School’s basketball team.
“Bobby could find positivity in any situation, whether it was in his life and the cards he was dealt or with the team,” Hansen said. “You know, we’d lose a tough game and he’d be right there after the game to tell the kids ‘it’s okay’ and give them a hug.”
The loss of Vogel hit the Auburn High basketball team hard, especially the seniors who have known Vogel since their high school career started, Hansen said.
Vogel had a deep faith and talked about wanting to be with his mom and sister who passed away, so Hansen said he finds solace in thinking Vogel is happy and with his family now.
The community at Auburn High is still processing the loss of Vogel, but they will find a way to honor his legacy at the school, Hansen said.
One of his favorite memories of Vogel is from summer league when Vogel was in charge of stamping hands as they entered the gym, Hansen said. Oftentimes the line would get backed up because Vogel had to say hello and chat with everyone in line, Hansen said.