A coach’s legacy

A life inspired works to inspire others

Growing up in Watertown, New York, Bob Rogers never imagined his life’s biggest inspiration would come from a ball, a hoop and a coach in a town more than 2,100 miles away.

Rogers and a Canton, New York, junior college teammate Ken Goodwin, were a force on the court in the late 1950s, and led the team to 34-6 record. Goodwin convinced Rogers to tag along on a trip to visit New Mexico State University and its growing basketball program. 

That’s when Rogers met basketball head coach Presley Askew – one of NMSU’s greatest coaches and a mentor Rogers will never forget.

“He was a tough character and certainly not easy to play for,” Rogers says. “If you weren’t playing up to his level, he would let you know.”

Nicknamed “Stick,” Rogers received a scholarship and played center for the team. The Aggies enjoyed great community support after two previous back-to-back NCAA Tournament appearances, but the team dropped to 10-14 in 1961-62 and 4-17 in 1962-63.

“At times, we didn’t hit it off,” Rogers says about his experience during those two seasons. “Coach Askew wasn’t a big people-person – he was all about the game, but he taught me so much during a time when I needed it. There’s no question about it.”

By 2011, he and his wife, Margaret, decided to bring this inspiration full-circle and honor the man who instilled the “taskmaster mindset” into Rogers. The duo created the Presley Askew Endowed Scholarship, using the IRA charitable rollover, totaling more than $350,000 to date. The scholarship honors student-athletes in men’s and women’s basketball and football who demonstrate academic excellence. 

One of many to receive the scholarship was women’s basketball player Sasha Weber ’16, who now plays professionally in England.

“I am from Washington, and at the time, I believe I was the player furthest away from home,” says Weber. “It was beyond a blessing to have people surrounding me with love and support who weren’t immediate family, including Bob and Margaret with this scholarship. That’s really why I chose to go to NMSU…the community is one of the best I’ve ever been able to play in and become a part of.”

Angel Mendez

Bob Rogers' experience as a basketball player for Coach Presley Askew transformed Rogers' take on the game and life off the court.

Featuring an early 1960s Aggie men's basketball team, Askew gets hands-on in practice with players.

Sasha Weber [right], '16 Aggie women's basketball player and recipient of the Presley Askew Scholarship, now plays professionally in England. Last season, she played for Eisvögel USC Freiburg in Damen-Basketball-Bundesliga in Germany.