Remembering Butte icon Gene Fogarty | Highschool soccer
BUTTE – Gene Fogarty was about 5-foot-6 taller than living in Butte Township.
He died on April 29th with his family by his side.
He was a legendary football coach for East Junior High (now East Middle School) “Bullpups”.
The 1970 East Junior High School Bullpups.
Although it was his passion, he devoted himself to more than just football. He helped whenever he could, wherever he could.
Fogarty was born on December 7th, 1933 and was an avid fisherman. One of his favorite spots was on the Bighole River.
He was a grand marshal.
He was also a loving father and husband.
“He was a fantastic traveler with me,” said Margie Fogarty, Gene’s wife of 59. “He loved to fish. When my son moved away, the fishing waned and he started playing keno in the casinos. He was part of the Retired Senior Volunteer Group. We had a dance group. He actually spent his time running clocks for Butte High, Central, and Montana Tech. And he pulled the trail east before it was a trail. He was down there all night trying to smooth out the dirt. He used to line the field; He took care of the hurdlers. We planned dinner for the soccer players and that was all for us. He brought a reading program east that they didn’t have before. He was Grand Marshal of the St. Patrick’s Day Parade.
“He was my best friend. And we have now missed our 60th anniversary by two months.”
Gene’s daughter Dina Mellott remembered being surprised whenever she heard stories about her father’s intensity during soccer training.
“He wasn’t like that at home,” Mellott recalled with a laugh. “He was very protective of us.”
On the field, however, it was a different story – especially on the practice field.
Gene Fogarty (left) speaks to the East Junior High Bullpups soccer team in 1978
But there was always a common denominator. He took care of everyone.
“He was the kind of guy who loved kids,” said John Mike Dennehy, who trained in athletics and soccer with Gene. “He worked hard with them. He was kind of an old Marine with this tough discipline, and that’s how he ran his program. “
Gene challenged all of his players. He helped them grow.
“He taught you how to be a man at a very young age,” said Scott Paffhausen. “There is absolutely no doubt about that.”
Paffhausen, a carpenter from the Butte School District, played quarterback for Gene as a ninth grader in East.
“I grew up on the west side and had to go into the apartment, so I really didn’t know a lot of people down there,” Paffhausen recalled. “It was an adjustment in life and he was my freshman coach down there.
“His exercises were tough, harder than any game you’ve ever played. It was tough. He would line up with you and slap you in the face with no equipment. He would absolutely do it. He wore soccer pants to practice. I remember, I mean, he was a tough guy, but all he did was best for the kid, you know? “
It was Gene’s job to prepare his players for the next level, which was a significant leap when considering physical development between the ages of 14 and 18.
“When Jon McElroy got players from Gene in high school, they were ready to play college soccer,” Paffhausen said. “I mean there were a lot of children. That was a big change back then. Back then, as a ninth grader, you were the big shooter in junior high school. You got into high school and suddenly you were on the other end of the spectrum. Again, you were low with the sophomore year. There is a big difference between 15 year old and 18 year old athletes. He did everything to get you ready to play. “
Much won, indeed, and McElroy wasn’t the only one in town to win soccer games.
Gene’s eastern teams were dominant. Of the 90 games they won between 1967 and 1980, 48 of those victories were failures.
“You really respected him,” Dennehy said. “The children were proud of what they did. Often times when it’s in another school, like it was back in high school, they develop their own pride, and that is what they did in junior high school. “
In total, Gene’s Bullpups scored 2,746 points and only allowed 606. In 1979 they only allowed 12 points for the entire season.
The crimes weren’t too shabby either. During the undefeated 1975 season (7-0), East averaged just over 37 points per game.
Gene was a board member of the Butte Sports Hall of Fame. He was accepted into the central soccer team in 1952 and again as a coach in 2001. He was the first to receive a unanimous vote on the first round of voting.
“He was a good man,” said Dennehy. “I was fortunate enough to take over the post after he retired and I learned a lot from this man when he was coaching football, that’s damn sure.”