Elyria High School football team reacts to beloved coach who died in apartment fire

Published: Oct. 13, 2021 at 3:45 PM EDT
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ELYRIA, Ohio (WOIO) - The death of a local high school football coach has impacted the entire Elyria community.

“It’s hard to even describe. It’s like it’s unreal,” said Devlin Culliver, the head coach of Elyria High School’s football team.

On Tuesday, the Pioneers lost one of their own coaches, De’van Bogard.

Bogard died tragically when a fire ripped through his apartment.

Culliver said he had to deliver the heartbreaking news to his team.

“I sat them in the auditorium and just told them what happened, and obviously, the tears began to shed. I was fighting back my own tears, but I had to let them know it’s part of life,” said Culliver. “The reason why we’ve gotten better over the years is 100% because of the things he’s done. He was one of those coaches that the kids loved. They respected him. He wasn’t friends with them. He was friendly with them. They knew that he was a coach, and they addressed him as Coach Bogard and he deserved that respect, and he demanded that respect.”

Bogard played high school football at Glenville in Cleveland and was a member of the 2014 Ohio State University national championship team.

“Coach Bogard’s future was so bright. I had a conversation with him a couple months ago. I asked him, ‘Do you ever want to be a head coach?’ And he said, Yes,’” said Culliver.

The Pioneers have senior night on Friday. They play Amherst Steele at home.

Culliver said, at the game, they will honor Bogard. There will be a balloon release, a moment of silence, and also the players will wear Bogard’s initials on the back of their helmets.

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