September 18, 2021

Forreston referee headed for IBCA Hall of Fame

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A 32-year long journey along the basketball courts, baseball fields and football fields is leading to the Hall of Fame for one Forreston man.

Tyler Vogt has been named to the Illinois Basketball Coaches Association Hall of Fame as an official.

He got the word on Tuesday.

“Shock is going to be the understatement,” he said about hearing the news. “It kind of made my heart stop just for a second. I thought guys were playing jokes on me when they were sending me messages.”

A 1986 Winnebago graduate, Vogt played baseball and basketball in high school and didn’t want to leave the game behind when his playing days were over.

It was Don Cook from the White Pines Officials Association, who approached Vogt about staying in the game as an official.

Cook remembered seeing Vogt play in high school and was looking for young officials.

“He seemed to fit the bill,” Cook said. “We got him going, and then he went from there. Once you get them started, they stay at it for a bit. He just was a nice, good, young fellow.”

After starting out working junior high and biddy basketball games, Cook, also of Forreston, and John Fritz, of Dixon, brought him along to work sophomore games, and he later worked with Milt Morris and Regis Craig out of Rockford.

Vogt has worked basketball, football and baseball over the years. Though retired from working basketball and baseball games, he is still working football games.

He got the call to work state finals in girls basketball in 2004, 2005 and 2007 and in boys basketball in 2014, 2015 and 2018.

Cook said it was good common sense that made Vogt a good official.

“There’s three things that an official needs: you’ve got to have the rules knowledge, you’ve got to have the mechanics and you’ve got to have good common sense on how to enforce the rules,” Cook said. “Tyler was one that really picked it up and did a good job at that.”

Through the years working fall, winter and spring, he said the thing that kept him doing it was the love of the game and how he loved being around the kids.

One of his inspirations was Frank Lee, a Sterling graduate and later Sterling coach who coached Vogt at Winnebago through his junior year.

“I didn’t get a lot of playing time, but just what I learned from him and learning the total aspect of the game and all the surroundings,” Vogt said.