FAIRFIELD — Stay active, stay busy and people may never know how old you really are.
Larry Hogue is the perfect example of that as he fills his time with a bevy of athletic activities while working full time as an instructional aide at Travis Community Day School.
Hogue, 52, keeps himself occupied as an assistant coach for the Vanden High School football team, as the school’s head track coach and he even fills in as a basketball referee at Golden West Middle School.
“I’m 52, but the kids never believe me because I still work out and run,” Hogue said. “Then I ask, ‘What does a 52-year-old look like?’ ”
With all of his outside activities, Hogue said he probably spends another 30 to 40 hours a week on athletic endeavors beyond the 40 hours at his job.
He loves every minute of working with young people, too.
“I enjoy working with kids, period. I had good mentors, that’s how I’m trying to do my coaching,” he said. “It’s a life lesson and it could be life-changing for some kids.”
Hogue said he’s motivated by his experiences as a student-athlete at Vanden, where he graduated in 1978, and from the experiences that he wants his students and athletes to have.
After Vanden, the well-traveled Hogue went to Utah State on a football scholarship as a defensive back.
He was drafted by the NFL’s Cincinnati Bengals in 1981, but he found his biggest success on the football field when he joined the Canadian Football League in 1982.
Hogue played in Calgary for several years before winning the Grey Cup in 1989 with the Saskatchewan Roughriders.
After retiring, Hogue spent two years coaching in Canada before returning to Fairfield to join the staff at Solano Community College from 1995-2001 under his high school coach, Ron Beverly Sr.
He also coached at Fairfield High before returning to Vanden, where he’s headed into his seventh season coaching defensive backs.
“I think it’s a perfect fit going back to a school where you graduated from,” he said. “Going back is just a joy. I have a couple of records still there.”
Hogue said he always encourages his players to shoot for those records.
The key for him, too, is to always encourage his athletes.
“As a coach, hopefully, you’re a positive role model for them,” he said. “You want to give them the best opportunity to go on to the next level.”
Keeping kids focused is a big part of what Hogue enjoys about his various commitments.
“Making sure they’re getting their grades, staying real close with the kids, so we don’t lose kids,” he said. “Keeping them focused on, ‘What is it you want to do?’ We want to get as many kids as we can to go on to the next level.”
Hogue was also a track star at Vanden and he’s been part of the program almost nonstop since he was a student.
“It seems like every offseason in Canada I came back to Vanden,” he said.
He was head coach from 1987-92 and again from 1994 until now.
It’s another teaching opportunity for Hogue, who said he loves to help kids understand how to reach their goals.
“I love it because it’s an individual deal,” he said. “What you put in is what you get out. It’s been a joy, it’s always been a fun thing to coach.”
Of all the athletes he works with, Hogue said it’s the younger ones he enjoys most.
“I enjoy working with the younger freshmen and sophomores, they keep me coming back,” he said. “They’re always a bright spot.”
Watching athletes mature and learn self-confidence is hugely rewarding, Hogue said.
“They come out for track and, all of a sudden, they’re better jumpers than most kids in school,” he said. “Some try to go on to the next level, and it’s nice to see from a coaching standpoint.”
Now, he’s looking to expand his involvement on the basketball court by getting recertified and becoming a regular referee at the middle school level.
“It’s something I may get into full-time for next year. I enjoy it, it’s a tough job,” Hogue said.
For now, the key for Hogue is staying active.
“Aside from my normal 40 hours, there’s probably 30 to 40 hours that I’m doing some kind of sport thing,” he said. “I get home at 8:30 or 9 p.m. It’s like doing two jobs at one time.”
That said, Hogue wouldn’t have it any other way.
“Somebody once told me, ‘You might as well do stuff that’s fun for you.’ It’s fun,” he said. “Life is real short, so you might as well take advantage of every opportunity you can. That’s one reason I keep doing what I do each year.”
Reach Mike Corpos at 427-6979 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/mcorposdr.