Eugene Swogger was a man who loved playing horseshoes with friends, coaching varsity basketball games at Chariters Valley and teaching social studies classes in the school district.
The long-time Scott resident spent years with the Dormont Horseshoe Club and later helped form a similar organization in Carnegie.
Sadly, Swogger died in 2010 after battling illnesses for more than a decade. But his friends have organized a tournament Saturday in to remember him and celebrate his life.
“He was just so gracious about how he handled himself that I thought he was worthy of having this tournament in his honor,” said friend and Scott Township resident Ron Richards. “It’ something Dormont is glad to do for what he’s done for the sport.”
The 1990 Hall of Fame inductee was a major influence on the Dormont club and started the HOPE horseshoe club in Carnegie. His widow, Christina, who still lives in Scott Township, is touched that his friends organized a tournament in his name and wants to stop by to thank them.
“It’s just the ultimate because he was so devoted and worked so hard to get the HOPE organization off the ground,” she said. “He was a wonderful man. He knew unconditional love. He’s about the only person I can say that about. He loved the fellows and loved the sport.”
But he also loved to work with young people. He taught social studies and business education in the Chartiers Valley School District for 23 years before retiring in 1993. School officials also said he coached the boys’ varsity basketball team from 1971 to 1979.
“I don’t think there was a soul that didn’t like him,” Christina Swogger said. “I’m sure he was an excellent teacher because he was very dedicated.”
The Saturday event runs from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the horseshoe pit in Dormont Park. There will be three classes of competitors–separated by ringer percentage–throwing during the Eugene Swogger Memorial Tournament.
Christina Swogger thinks it’s a great honor that the organization would celebrate its 49th years with a tournament named after her late husband.
“He always wanted to honor people,” she said, “so it’s nice to see someone do it for him.”