Forrest Wiegand, who coached the Bulldogs for more than a decade, was honored as a Vintage Selection for his success as a center on the 1968 and 1969 Texas Longhorns teams. Shaun Rogers, a 1997 La Porte High School graduate, was selected to the Hall for his prowess as a three-year starting defensive lineman for the Longhorns between 1998 and 2000.
A three-year starter and two-time All-Big 12 performer, Shaun Rogers was one of the most productive defensive linemen in Texas history and went on to a highly successful tenure in the NFL. He teamed up with 2014 Hall of Honor inductee Casey Hampton to form one of the most dominant defensive tackle tandems in UT and Big 12 history. That duo each earned first-team All-Big 12 honors in 1999, becoming the first Texas DT tandem since 1971 to accomplish that feat. That year, Rogers (27) and Hampton (21) combined for 48 tackles for loss on a defense that allowed just over 100 yards rushing (2.7 yards per carry) and 286.7 total yards per game. The 48 TFL were the most of any DT tandem nationally that year. Despite playing much of the season with a high ankle sprain as a senior, Rogers posted 14 TFL and 3.5 sacks in helping Texas hold opponents to just 94.0 rushing yards (fewest since 1977), 2.6 yards per carry and 278.3 total yards per game. All totaled, the Rogers-Hampton duo combined for 107 tackles for loss in their careers and helped the Longhorns rank sixth nationally in total defense in 1999 and seventh in 2000. Rogers' 27 tackles for loss in 1999 are the second most in a season in school history and his 53 career TFL rank sixth best in UT history. His five TFL (seventh most in a game in UT history) played a key role in the Horns' 24-20 upset of No. 3 Nebraska in Austin in 1999. He also had 14 sacks and 199 tackles in 41 career games. The Longhorns won nine games in each of his final three seasons and earned final national rankings of 12th (2000), 21st (1999) and 15th (1998). That was a dramatic turnaround from his true freshman season in 1997, when Texas went 4-7 and allowed 241.5 rushing yards per game. A second-round draft pick (61st overall) of the Detroit Lions, Rogers went on to play 13 NFL seasons, mostly as a starter, earning three Pro Bowl appearances. His 13 NFL seasons are second most by a Longhorn defensive lineman, trailing only 1999 Hall of Honor inductee Steve McMichael (16). In seven seasons in Detroit, Rogers started 96 of 98 games. He played in 163 career NFL games with 130 starts, registering 513 tackles and 37.5 sacks. He also made a significant impact on special teams in the NFL, blocking 11 kicks and accomplishing a rare feat for a DT – returning a fumble and interception for a TD during his career.
In 1969, as the Texas football team was celebrating as National Champions in the midst of one of the finest eras of Longhorn football, a friendly debate about who was the team's most valuable player arose among the stars of the class. The MVP choice could have been running backs Ted Koy and Jim Bertelsen, or bruising All-American fullback Steve Worster. There were other All-Americans and eight All-SWC players to choose from. Quarterback James Street, of course, was the odds-on choice. Finally, center Forrest Wiegand pled his own case. "Actually, James," he said, "it's me, because you can't do anything unless I give you the ball." It was the observation from a man who would spend a lifetime in football, giving other people the ball. A native of Edna, Texas, Wiegand came to UT as an all-around football player and became the starting center midway through his sophomore season. With Wiegand as the lynchpin of the offensive line in the Wishbone offense in 1968 and 1969, the Longhorns carved out a record of 20-1-1, including a National Championship, two SWC titles and two Cotton Bowl victories. After spending a year as a graduate assistant coach at UT, Wiegand worked three years as an assistant coach at Austin Westlake before moving to La Porte, where he became one of the most beloved figures in La Porte High School history. Wiegand, who retired from coaching after 29 years at LPHS, led the team to nine playoff appearances in 15 years as a head coach. He continued to teach and serve as an administrator until his retirement several years ago. He returned to La Porte High School as a teacher in 2015.
Featured photo: Showing their Bulldog spirit during the La Porte High School alma mater are, from left, Todd Schoppe, La Porte ISD director of athletics and physical education; Forrest Wiegand, long-time LPHS teacher and football coach; Shaun Rogers, 1997 LPHS graduate and former professional football player; and Carlin Grammer, LPHS principal. Wiegand and Rogers, both graduates of the University of Texas at Austin, were recognized on the field of Bulldog Stadium during the La Porte-Pasadena Memorial game on Nov. 3 for their recent induction into the UT Hall of Honor.
Longhorns player photos and bios courtesy of texassports.com/University of Texas Athletics Dept.