Seminoles coaching legend eulogized

John Brogle took distance running in the state of Florida to unprecedented heights.

Published January 19, 2006

Nearly a quarter century ago, Florida State cross country coach John Brogle set the bar for national success, reaching the NCAA championship for the first time and then finishing eighth.

That was 1981.

He hasn't been caught yet.

"He coached the best team in history at FSU and he was able to do it with almost an entirely all Florida roster," said FSU cross country coach Bob Braman, who has led the Seminoles to the NCAA meet the past three years but never finished higher than 17th. "I don't know if you could that today. That's a tribute to John Brogle."

Mr. Brogle, a successful coach at both St. Petersburg Catholic and then FSU (his alma maters) who was inducted into the state's Track and Field Hall of Fame last month, died Sunday. He was 61.

"It's a sad day for all of us who knew him," Braman said.

Around the state, Mr. Brogle is credited with helping develop distance running at both the prep and collegiate levels. He went on to win five state titles at St. Petersburg Catholic (known for part of the time as Bishop Barry) in boys cross country and track and then took FSU to unprecedented heights in his time (1977-85).

"I don't believe anybody has had the level of success that Coach Brogle had over the number of years he had it," said former FSU track coach Richard Roberts, who hired Mr. Brogle as his assistant and cross country head coach in 1977. "John Brogle brought a work ethic and a dedication to his job along with a very pleasant and easy-going personality that just inspired everybody around him to follow the example and do their best. I think that's why he was so successful."

Roberts said he, former athletes Mr. Brogle coached and Mr. Brogle's family and friends are planning to raise money to endow a scholarship for men's cross country/track in his memory.

"We will do it," he said. "We'll do our best to make sure he's not forgotten."