Arizona Football

Dear Coach Tom Roggeman — Reprint of Jay Dobyns’ Letter to Arizona Coaching Legend

Editor’s note: This is a reprint of a letter written by former Sahuaro High School and Arizona Wildcats standout Jay Dobyns after former assistant coach Tom Roggeman spoke at a luncheon honoring Ricky Hunley in Tucson about 10 years ago. Roggeman, the greatest motivator known to Arizona football as an assistant from 1977-79 and 1982-86, passed away at 86 on Saturday. When Dobyns wrote this letter he was an agent working for the Bureau for Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF).

Coach Rogge,

This is Jay Dobyns. I was so happy to see you at Rick’s luncheon. I wanted to write you a short note to tell you a story.

In my line of work I have realized that great character is learned. It is taught to us by the people we chose to surround ourselves with and it starts at home with our parents. The family that you and Florence raised is the very best demonstration of your own character.

Tom Roggeman sitting his daughter Pam and her family behind him in a 2016 photo (Roggeman family photo)

You raised a family of great kids. They will raise a family of great kids and the cycle will continue to repeat. It is how humanity stands a chance.

Buck is a great man who is helping others. Rock has always been a great friend was a great teammate (at Sahuaro). Pam is a lovely lady and mother.

Very well done my friend.

I am quite sure that losing Florence was a devastating blow for you. I recall her always being such a sweet lady to me. I feel for you for that loss. Sometimes life take turns that we cannot understand.

This is my story for you.

I always considered it an honor to play for you. The manner in which you conducted yourself was always an inspiration to me, well beyond the football field. You set an example for me and all the players and people you touched in life with dignity, integrity, loyalty and honesty.

Jay Dobyns with his son Jack after a recent Chadron (Neb.) State College football game (Dobyns family photo)

Those are the same values that I try to instill in my kids and that has been learned from me, in part, from you.

Your toughness and resiliency is still a thing of legend in Tucson.

Hearing you speak at Ricky’s luncheon brought me back to the first time I heard you talk. I was a junior at Sahuaro and Rock was a sophomore. My smile was just as big and I was just as inspired as I was 30 years ago. And you have always been a gentleman.

You were the perfect person for young people like me to have been around. You are an incredible man. Your legacy will be carried on for lifetimes through the people who you gave yourself to and they will do the same for others in following your example.

As always, my best.

Much love, respect and admiration,

Jay Dobyns

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