For Bill Rogers, Union will always be home.
Rogers, 64, grew up in Ferguson and moved to the Union area his sophomore year of high school. He spent three years at Union High School and loved every minute of it.
“Once I got into high school, Union was home,” he said.
At UHS, Rogers was a three-sport athlete. He suited up for the Wildcats in football, basketball and baseball.
Baseball was my love,” Rogers said. “I went on to college (at William Jewell) and played it for four years there. Football taught me a lot. It’s a real character builder.”
Rogers said he was fortunate to have a number of great coaches during his time at UHS. None stand out more than UHS Athletic Hall of Famer Del Rinne.
“The one thing that I liked the most about Coach Rinne is he always had high expectations, not only as players but as people,” he said.
Rogers said Rinne was encouraging both on and off the field. He credited the football coach with helping him earn a scholarship to William Jewell.
“He didn’t just coach,” Rogers said. “He was a guy that was involved in your life.”
Rogers has fond memories playing for the Wildcats. However, he still hasn’t forgotten that the football team failed to beat Washington during his time with the team.
In addition to Rinne, Rogers said Beverly Eversole, Chris Straub, Nick Nienhueser, and Paul Copeland were influential on his life.
Eversole in particular had a major impact on him.
Eversole taught English and really helped Rogers learn how to read and study literature, he said.
I thought she was just a great teacher,” he said.
After college, Rogers started a career in teaching. It started, where else, but at Union. From 1977-82 he served as a teacher and coach in the district.
Rogers said he enjoyed being in his hometown, but found there was a lot of pressure as a coach.
“The hardest part about going home was the expectation you put on yourself,” he said. “I think it was a lot less in other places because it wasn’t home.”
He left Union and pursued a career in administration. He got his first principal job in Lonedell.
“I learned more there than class ever taught me,” he said.
Eventually he rose through the ranks and became a superintendent in the Lockwood R-I School District. He retired two years ago after a lengthy career.
“I spent 34 years in education and enjoyed every minute of it,” he said.
Now retired, Rogers has turned his free time into a career. Inspired by his old high school English teacher, he’s staked out a ca, reer as an author.
Rogers said he always was an avid reader. During his career in education, he was always writing something. Toward the end of his tenure, he started toying with the idea of being an author.
He’s always been a fan of mystery/thriller novels. He cited James Patterson and John Grisham as author he admires.
“Those are guys I’ll never be like, but they are my role models,” he said.
He’s currently working on a trilogy of books. The first two, “Redemption” and “Redemption 2: Allison’s Revenge” are available to purchase.
The books are all written under a pen name — Malcolm Tanner. They can be found on Amazon or via his website, malcolmtanner.com. Information about his books are also on his Facebook page — MalcolmTannerUGo. Rogers said he’s always been a people watcher which helps inform his writing.
“I know everyone has a story to tell,” he said.
He said his books are character driven because he’s always had an interest in people — what they’re thinking and how they work.
He works on his books from his home on Table Rock Lake.
“It’s a great spot to write with all the spectacular views,” he said.
Rogers credits his wife of 21 years, Sandy, with supporting his book writing career. He said she puts up with his 4:30 a.m. wake-up calls so he can write when it’s quiet. She also has been supportive of publishing the book and has acted like a manager, he said.
Rogers was in Union early this year for a book signing. He said he always enjoys coming back because he loves the town.
“It was just a great community to grow up in,” he said.