October 4, 1932 - August 12, 2021
Nicholas Roger Harring, 88, passed away on Thursday, August 12, 2021 at his home in La Crosse, Wisconsin.
Roger was born October 4, 1932 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. He graduated from Green Bay Central Catholic High School in 1951 and the University of Wisconsin – La Crosse with a Bachelor of Science – Physical Education in 1958 and a Masters of Science – Physical Education in 1962. While at UW-La Crosse he met his wife, Mary Koula, and they were married in 1956. They recently celebrated 65 years of marriage in August of 2021.
In high school Roger lettered in football, basketball, boxing and baseball. He lettered in football two seasons at St. Norbert College and two seasons at UW-La Crosse, where he played every position except quarterback or center. During the Korean War he served his country as a member of the U.S. Marine Corps, including two years overseas.
Roger began coaching at Ladysmith (WI) High School in 1958 where he was the head football, wrestling and track coach. He moved to Wisconsin Rapids Lincoln High School in 1963 where he was the head football, wrestling and track coach. In 1969, he became head football coach at UW-La Crosse and went on to have 28 consecutive winning seasons. Under his leadership, he compiled a 261-75-7 record, making him the 20th winning collegiate coach at all levels. Roger’s teams went to thirteen National Playoffs, with all teams making it to the final four and winning three National Championships. He was named Conference Coach of the Year eight times and was honored twice by being named Division III Coach of the Year. Roger has been inducted into the UW-La Crosse Wall of Fame, the Wisconsin Football Coaches Association Hall of Fame, the NAIA Hall of Fame, and was voted #92 on the ESPN list of the 150 Greatest Coaches in College Football History. In 1988, Roger coached the Bologna Doves in Bologna, Italy and in 1990 he coached the undefeated Pesaro Angels in Pesaro, Italy. Roger was the recipient of several awards from local groups and organizations, including being the 2001 Oktoberfest Parade Marshal. The stadium at Veterans Memorial Field Sports Complex at UWL was named in his honor.
Roger had the opportunity to travel extensively with his wife, Mary, to many different countries and cultures. Among those were Cuba, China, Germany, Scotland, France, the Netherlands. Also as a United States Marine on the Mediterranean Cruise assignment he was able to visit many North African countries.
Roger’s legacy is built on his love for his family, his accomplishments on the football field, his impact on UW-La Crosse, and the many lives he touched along the way.
Roger’s greatest joy was his family. He is survived by his wife of 65 years, Mary; his children, Teri (Larry) Pavelec, Susan (Mike) Schwartz, Matthew (Lynn Stetzer) Harring, and Andrew (Bobbi) Harring; nine grandchildren, Nicholas (Cara) Harring, Ben (KayCee) Harring, Alyssa (Nick) Arenz, Jenna Pavelec, Max Pavelec, Josef (Stephanie) Schwartz, Michaela (Tim Holland) Schwartz, Alyssa (Brian) Tapio, and Anna Harring; and three great-grandchildren: Bennett Tapio, Cooper Schwartz and Nicholas Harring. Roger was preceded in death by his son, Nicholas. Following the lives and accomplishments of his grandchildren and great- grandchildren brought Roger immense joy and pride. He was a committed fan on the sidelines of their sporting events, an excellent teller of many, many stories and a trusted source of wisdom and life lessons.
There will be a visitation from 4 to 7:00 PM, on Friday, August 27, 2021, at the Roger Harring Stadium, Veterans Memorial Sports Complex at UW-La Crosse. A Funeral Mass will be held at Mary, Mother of the Church, 2006 Weston St, La Crosse, on Saturday, August 28, 2021, at 10:30 AM., Rev. Brian D. Konopa will officiate. Family and friends are invited for a sharing session at 1:00 PM on Saturday, following Mass, in the Bluffs Room in the Student Union at 521 East Avenue North. The Mass on Saturday may be livestreamed at www.mmoclacrosse.org.
We will be following the University of Wisconsin- La Crosse requirements and masks will be required to be worn at the visitation and at the funeral service.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Roger Harring Scholarship Fund at the UW-La Crosse Foundation or the UW-La Crosse Football team, Attn: Head Coach, Matt Janus.