Logue leaves tough cleats to fill
Terry Logue was so close to his dream he could taste it.
After a distinguished football career as a placekicker and tight end at the California State University at Long Beach in the early 1970s – where he still holds a pair of school PAT records, is second all time in scoring among kickers and eighth all time in scoring – he signed as a free agent with the Los Angeles Rams.
The Paradise High School product battled through training camp and two exhibition games before he got the bad news.
He got cut.
“It was tough. Basically from the time you’re a little kid, you dream about playing professional football or baseball. I made it through high school, then college and then got a shot at the pros,” he said. “Football had been my whole life up until that point. And when it didn’t work out, it was one of those ‘Well, what are you going to do now,’ kind of things.
“I was 23 years old, and even though I had a college degree, I still hadn’t made up my mind on what I wanted to do with my life.”
The NFL’s loss proved to be Bear River’s gain.
Logue, who had bounced around as an assistant and head football coach at the high school and junior college level in the 14 years after leaving the Rams, took over the helm at Bear River in 1987.
In his time in the Cardinal and Gray, the Bruins have won a pair of state titles, a Sac-Joaquin Section crown, five league championships, been to the playoffs eight times and racked up 13-straight winning seasons since 1989.
In its six years in the rough and tumble Sierra Foothill League, Bear River’s 29 wins ranks second only behind Del Oro of Loomis’ 30 mark.
“They snuck one by us. That one really hurt,” Logue said with a laugh.
In his 16 years as the Bruin junior varsity head coach, Duane Zauner has had a front row seat as Logue transformed the Bruins from an 0-10 doormat into one of the top programs in the state.
“I’ve never met a guy that spends more time and energy with his team. It’s not for personal goals or self-motivated. It’s just about how he can help his team play better on Friday nights. A lot of the success here at this school is because of his dedication,” Zauner said.
Ernie Cooper, whose Granite Bay team won section Division II titles in 1999 and 2000 and squeaked out a 7-5 homefield win over Bear River last fall, said he’s learned alot about how to build a program from Logue.
“Our first year in the Sierra Foothill League, we came down to Bear River, and they just kicked our butts. The next year, they did it again. We knew at that point if we wanted to compete with the Bear Rivers, we were going to have to kick it up a notch,” he said. “Their teams are always well prepared and tough. They’re a mirror image of their coach.”
Sierra College had an opening for head football coach at the end of January and came a courting.
Logue and his wife of 24 years, Andrea, mulled over the pros and cons while on vacation in early February. The positives outweighed the negatives and Logue announced his resignation to coaches and the team on Feb. 26.
“It was not an easy decision by any means. I had a great relationship with the junior class and we were moving to a league where we were going to play schools our size, but (my son) Matt was graduating and it was a great opportunity. And let’s face it, I’m not getting any younger,” Logue said.
Cooper said Sierra College hit the jackpot.
“They’re getting one of the best coaches in the section. From all the way down in Manteca up to Grass Valley, (he’s tops). Terry’s going to be a big boost for them,” he said.
Why does Logue coach?
It’s simple, he loves the game.
“I love everything about the game. What it represents about life,” he said. “It’s that hard work pays off. Your father can be the town drunk or the richest man in town, but if you work as hard as you can, you’re going to be successful,” he said.
Logue has been coaching for 29 years, but his first coaching job came by accident.
“I remember one night the football team was practicing and my former high school coach, Art Guerra, conned me into coming out and helping out,” Logue said.
That’s all it took. He was hooked.
“I guess because I Ioved the game and I was somehow able to extend the game I loved as a coach. And it was exciting. I found out you get just as nervous before a game as the players do. You weren’t playing, but you were preparing watching your team progress that whole experience got my juices flowing as far as knowing what I wanted to do.”
Logue earned a spot as a placekicker and receiver on the Southern California Sun in the now defunct World Football League a year later, but when the paychecks bounced, so did he.
He coached at Paradise as an assistant until 1976 when he got his first teaching job and the junior varsity head coaching post at Gridley High School. Two seasons later, he returned to his high school alma mater as head coach.
The top job for the Butte College football program was next up on the on Logue’s traveling football show.
Ronald Reagan was a year into his second term as president when a head coaching job at a brand new high school at the western tip of Nevada county opened up.
“I saw Nevada Union Joint Unified School District in the ad and I thought the job was for Nevada Union,’ he said. “I didn’t even know where Bear River was.”
Fifteen years later, Logue is on the move again.
No doubt Zauner speaks for Bruin players and fans alike when he says Logue will be missed.
“It’s going to be sad next year, but I’m happy for him to take that next step. He’s worked hard, he deserves it,” Zauner said. “We’ll miss him, but we know he’ll be around. Like when someone yells from the stands “Whadya make that call for?”
Golden Empire League coach of the year 1991, 1994, 1995
Cal-Hi State Coach of the Year 1994
Sacramento Bee Superior Cal Coach of the Year 1994
Sacramento Bee Metro Coach of the Year 1997
National Football Foundation’s Distinguished Coach Award 2002
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