Name: Matt Rogers
Year(s) at Citrus: 1996 and 1997
Honors Earned While at Citrus:
Rogers was a two-year start on the offensive line for the Owls, earning 1st team All-Foothill Conference honors as both a freshman and a sophomore. In addition, Rogers was named an All-American after his sophomore campaign.
Where are they now?:
After finishing up his two years of competition at Citrus, Rogers fielded over 40 offers from football programs across the country. On his initial recruiting visit, Rogers went to the University of Iowa who was still helmed by legendary coach Hayden Fry. Rogers fell in love with the place, and immediately signed up for the Hawkeyes, playing one season, which also happened to be Fry’s last. After Fry retired, Rogers transferred to the University of Washington where he closed out his collegiate career, playing on the 2000 team that went 11-1, won the 2001 Rose Bowl, and finished the season ranked #3 in the AP Poll.
Upon graduation, Rogers returned to the San Gabriel Valley and began to pursue a career in entertainment. Rogers big break came during Season 3 of American Idol, where he earned a trip to Hollywood and became a finalist for the hit reality show. He has since gone on to host many television shows including Discovery Channel’s “Really Big Things,” CBS’s “There Goes the Neighborhood” and “American Idol Extra.” He has also worked as a correspondent on several entertainment and sports shows including “Entertainment Tonight,” “Access Hollywood,” “Turner Sports College Football,” “Best Damn Sports Show” and the TV Guide Network.
More recently, Rogers has served as a “family member” of the Hallmark Channel’s daily talk show “Home and Family”. Rogers also previously served as the host of USA’s “Summer Camp” and the Game Show Network’s “Beat the Chefs”. Rogers is best known for his work on the Lifetime docu-series “Coming Home”, which followed military members as they surprised their fellow family members with reunions. In addition to hosting the series, Rogers also wrote and performed the theme song for the show titled, “I’m Coming Home.”
Rogers is still a resident of the greater San Gabriel Valley area, and has two sons and a daughter with his wife Teri.
What brought you to Citrus initially?:
“Coming out of high school, I had a full ride to Azusa Pacific University (which at the time competed in the NAIA). I came from a Christian family in Covina, and that was dreams come true for my family. When I played in the High School All-Star Game after my senior year, then Head Coach John Rome (Rome coached the Owls from 1994-2000) started recruiting me. He told me that I was a Division I player, and I believed him. I went home and told my mom that I wasn’t going to go to APU, but to Citrus. She wasn’t happy about it, but in the end it really worked out.”
How would you describe your Citrus experience?:
“It was nothing but positive. I met some of my lifelong friends who I still talk to. It’s where I became a man. That’s where you grow up. You transition from childhood to young adult hood. I’ll never forget the friends I made and the social experiences we shared.
From the team aspect, how Citrus supported athletes was essential in my transition once I got to Iowa. I was prepared for that next phase of my life, and in many ways I was more prepared than the guys who were already there. At Citrus it wasn’t just about wins and losses. We were 2-8 my freshman year and 5-5 my sophomore year, but we still moved on more guys than other local junior colleges. The facility and the support staff was and still is top of the line. Citrus makes it hard for you to fail. It’s harder to do that than it is to succeed.”
How did your time at Citrus prepare you for your life experiences?:
“It specifically prepared me in terms of work ethic. In college, you’re finally on your own. When you’re in high school, your parents make you do everything, get up to go to school, do your chores and homework. When you get to college, that experience changes. Luckily at Citrus, you still have that support from your coaches and from the athletic department. It’s a great combination of support and freedom. It was structured enough to help you succeed in your new found freedom as you go on. After I left Citrus and was completely on my own, I wasn’t in shellshock. I was one of five junior college transfers to Iowa, and I was the only who ended up getting my degree. The other guys weren’t as prepared as I was, and it wasn’t because of me it was because of where I had come from. Citrus forced me to grow up. “
If you had to sum up your experience at Citrus in one word what would it be and why?:
“Prosperous. The relationships I formed at Citrus College have supported me and carried me now into my late 30’s. 20 years later, I still have people reaching out to me. I don’t know too many people who still talk to their coaches and teachers from 20 years ago.”