Richard "Dick" Vogel serves as Executive Director of the Eagle Club and Associate Director of Athletics at The University of Southern Mississippi. Vogel, who once commanded U.S. Army troops in Germany, took a few moments recently to reflect on his current responsibilities and outside interests in a question-and-answer format.
Q: What is your hometown and educational background?
A: I am originally from Long Island, N.Y., but went to the Virginia Military Institute for my undergraduate degree. I received my Master’s degree here at Southern Miss while teaching ROTC in 1983. I’m very proud to say that Debbie, my wife of 39 years, is a nursing graduate and both of my daughters, Tara and Jackie, are Southern Miss graduates.
Q: What were you doing before you came to Southern Miss?
A: I retired from the Army in 1993 and immediately went to work for the Sunbeam Corp. in Hattiesburg, finishing as a quality engineer in 1996 when I joined the staff at Southern Miss.
Q: How did you end up working at Southern Miss?
A: It is a great story. While I was a company commander in the 1st Infantry Division forward in Goeppingen, Germany, out first sergeant Jimmy Shoemaker from Hattiesburg was promoted and sent to the ROTC Department at Southern Miss. Later that year they needed an infantry instructor and he called me and asked if I was interested. I taught here from 1980-83. Jimmy and his son, Randy Banks, are still here and run Professional Security.
Q: Describe your primary duties as Eagle Club Director?
A: I am responsible for the annual giving program to cover the costs of scholarship for approximately 360 student-athletes.
Q: What is the most challenging aspect of your position?
A: Convincing our fans that it is truly about providing scholarships and that seating and parking priorities – though important – follow the need to cover the costs of scholarships.
Q: Do you ever wish sometimes that Southern Miss fans were more rabid?
A: There are no more dedicated and rabid fans than those we have at Southern Miss. We just need some more.
Q: Do you sense excitement building for the upcoming football season. Perhaps even more than normal?
A: Yes, even Coach (Larry) Fedora has accepted the challenge of going 12-0.
Q: What animal best describes your personality and why?
A: I am a bull in the china cabinet! I can’t stop to catch my breadth.
Q: Why is it so important to be a member of the Eagle Club?
A: Giving back is the right thing for all of us to do. Athletics truly markets our university – this tremendous awareness marketing to what a great university we have. Supporting the scholarship program is a viable way for every fan to make a difference.
Q: What is your golf handicap these days?
A: It is 11. Funny, only playing on weekends gives you a much greater appreciation for the game. Gen. (Jeff) Hammond and I are perpetual motion from Monday through Friday and we love it! He is truly a great man to work for. In other words, we are Rock’n.