An SNU Inside Story: Coach Art Bogan

By Paul McGrady, SNU Associate Athletic Director

Art Bogan’s life is a saga about beating the odds. It is a tale of becoming blessed and in turn being a blessing to others. Art could be a lot of places today but by the grace of God he stands in a place of honor coaching and influencing young men at Southern Nazarene University.

Coach Bogan exudes dignity and possesses a great air of respectability. These character traits are most probably the result of a life well lived in the midst of adverse circumstances. 

“I grew up in the tough section of Birmingham, Alabama. My mother raised us. My father was absent. It had effects on my life. I grew up in a gang infested neighborhood. It seemed like we moved every two weeks because we couldn’t pay the rent. I had affiliation with most of the gangs in Birmingham because we kept moving into different territories. The only person I knew who had financial prosperity was my cousin and he was a drug dealer.

Later that cousin was killed in a drive by shooting. Another of Art’s cousins held the victim in his arms as he passed from this world. “Both of them were never the same” Art laments. “But God somehow always kept and protected me. Athletics became my escape and release from the pressures of life.”

The path of salvation came through his passion for athletics and a couple of courageous Christian men who possessed the wisdom to share the ‘hope of Jesus Christ’ with youth.

Otis Hughley was Art’s basketball coach at Wallace Community College. “Sharing the gospel was his first priority. I was a knucklehead. Coach Hughley was the first guy to begin to penetrate my heart with the gospel. I finally knew someone was in my corner. I knew I had a man in my life who truly loved me. “ A revival occurred on Art’s team. Many players professed faith in Christ. Christian influence was pervasive upon Art’s life.

“God was laying the foundation of my spiritual life. Questions like ‘Where does a man go when he dies?’ and “How does the world end?’ began to haunt my mind. A friend told me to read the book of Revelations and it scared me to death!” he remembers with a smile.

Art’s roommate Eddie was continually hounding him to go to church. “He shared the Scriptures with me. God’s Word truly has power. It was having an impact upon me.” Finally, after the passage of time one morning Art was listening to Tupac in his room. Eddie came in and Art asked him to share the gospel with him. Art wanted a personal relationship with the Lord. That morning Jesus Christ saved Art Bogan and began to move him toward God’s plan for his life!

Through a series of events ten years later Art arrived at SNU hired by head Men’sBasketball Coach Adam Bohac to be his assistant coach. Adam sensed a fit with Bogan at SNU. “Art and I met through a mutual friend in coaching. He has made a tremendous impact on SNU Basketball.”

Jon West showed up to play at SNU at about the same time that Coach Bogan did. Coach Bogan’s impact was soon felt. “ Coach Bogan is an excellent basketball coach and teacher. However, his influence on our players stretches far beyond the basketball court. I would consider Coach an active follower and believer in Jesus Christ. At appropriate times during the basketball season, coach shares Truth that is applicable to our player’s lives. He is not ashamed of the gospel and he is not ashamed to share it with our players. He has credibility with the players because he lives a life that is set apart from this world and is different. His faithfulness and obedience to the Word of God is admirable. I consider him a friend and someone I look up to,” states Jon West now graduated and coaching alongside Bogan.

The second man who ‘stood in the gap’ in Art’s life was a gentleman named Jeremiah Castille, a former NFL player who mentored and discipled him. “Jeremiah is my spiritual father. I had no clue how a family was supposed to be led by a man. I stayed at his house and I learned. He spoke life into me. He also bought my first three cars!”

Now blessed Bogan turns his attention to being a blessing, “As followers of Christ our heart should be broken for what breaks God’s heart. He has shown me through the Scriptures that his heart is broken for the fatherless. I want to be there for the guys on our team. Kids deserve more than a coach who could care less about them after they finish playing. God is giving me vision for my future. I want to do exactly what God wants me to do.”

In the spring of 2010 he walked across the stage and received his diploma and a coveted college degree in Organizational Leadership from the SNU Adult Studies program! Coach Art Bogan will be sharing his story at SNU Chapel on Thursday November 15th, 2012. Through the inspiring tale of the grace of God upon Art Bogan’s life and many others, SNU continues to transform lives through higher education in Christ-centered community.
Southern Nazarene University's mission is to transform lives through higher education in Christ-centered community. As a Christian community of scholars, we model the hospitality of grace, the pursuit of truth and the practice of discipleship, all within the Wesleyan-holiness tradition, as we prepare graduates who THINK with clarity, ACT with integrity and SERVE with purpose.