Ryan Rogers of Falmouth died in April at age 28. The Ryan Rogers Memorial Courts at Huston School Park are a tribute to him. Contributed / The Rogers family

Ryan Rogers’ joy in bringing people together will live on at Falmouth’s Huston School Park, where the two basketball courts have been named in his honor and where his family plans to keep his legacy alive through court upgrades and tournaments.

Ryan, a Falmouth High School basketball state champion and an assistant men’s basketball coach at Saint Joseph’s College in Standish, died in April at age 28 from glioblastoma, an aggressive form of brain cancer.

The Falmouth Town Council last month approved the Ryan Rogers Memorial Courts at the park in tribute to him.

“Throughout his life, Ryan spent several hundred hours playing pickup games with his family and friends at the Huston School Park basketball courts,” the resolution read.

“He truly lived on those courts,” said his father, Chris Rogers.

His family plans to endow a foundation for the courts’ annual maintenance and upkeep and for improvements that include restriping and painting, new baskets, fencing and lighting. They plan to host annual 3-on-3 tournaments and foul-shooting contests for boys and girls. Chris Rogers said he expects renovations to begin within the next month and he hopes to kick off the first tournament this summer.

They’re also working to set up a scholarship fund in Ryan’s name for students with financial needs at Saint Joseph’s College.

Ryan and his cousin, E.J. Rogers, born two days apart, started playing basketball with friends at Huston School Park in middle school.

“Ryan was very adamant about bringing all sorts of people together,” E.J. Rogers said. “He created an environment where lots of friendships were formed.”

“He was the guy who was always organizing the games. They’d play for hours and hours,” Chris Rogers said.  “As the oldest of four kids who all played basketball, he was a spectacular athlete.”

His cousin said Ryan’s pickup games helped keep everyone out of trouble.

“The courts created a safe space to foster healthy and productive connection,” he said.

For Ryan, playing at Huston’s courts was “so much bigger than the game itself,” E.J. Rogers said. “Everything we’re doing is with the goal of keeping a sense of community alive.”

During his senior year at Falmouth High School in 2010, Ryan was co-captain of the varsity basketball team that won the Class B state championship.

“Ryan was a tremendous person. He had a zest for life,” said Dave Halligan, who has been the varsity basketball and soccer coach at Falmouth High School for 36 years.

Ryan Rogers was co-captain when the Falmouth boys basketball team won the Class B state championship in 2010. Contributed / The Rogers family

After high school, Rogers completed a post-graduate year at Bridgton Academy and then attended Salve Regina University in Newport, Rhode Island. In his senior year at Salve Regina, he was diagnosed with a brain tumor.

“He had a seizure,” his father said. “The doctors ended up running a number of tests and he was on the operating table three days later.”

After nine months of radiation and chemotherapy, Ryan was cancer free. He returned to Salve Regina and graduated in 2017.

That same spring, he became a volunteer assistant basketball coach at Saint Joseph’s College of Maine. He simultaneously coached AAU teams and volunteered with youth basketball clinics.

“What I admired about Ryan was his gift of finding joy everywhere,” said Rob Sanicola, head men’s basketball coach at at Saint Joseph’s. “This gift was given with a smile. Most times it was with a quick-witted joke. He definitely shared his gift of joy with our players, coaches, and lastly my two boys, and that is what I’m most grateful for.”

E.J. Rogers said his cousin “was one of the funniest guys out there and had an inside joke with everyone.”

Ryan pursued a master’s degree at Saint Joseph’s and was hired as an admissions officer in the spring of 2020, all while continuing to coach.

His cancer returned the following September, but his faith in God was unwavering, his father said.

“It’s one of the things we really lean on heavily now while having to wrestle with the fact that he left us when he was 28 years old. Knowing that he died with his faith gives us tremendous comfort,” Chris Rogers said.

Donations in Ryan’s honor to the Maine Children’s Cancer Program have reached over $29,000, he said.

The Rogers family will continue to host the annual Edward Rogers Memorial Golf Tournament in Poland, in honor of Ryan’s  grandfather who passed away from cancer 2o years ago. The tournament, which has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for the Maine Children’s Cancer Program, will also be held in Ryan’s honor this year, his father said.

Charitable donations in Ryan’s memory can be sent to Ashton Hunter-Sildve at the Maine Children’s Cancer Program, 22 Bramhall St, Portland, ME 04102.

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