Hogan, regional president of the Northeast and Fox Valley regions for Associated Bank, took over as general chair at last year’s Charities Game. He succeeded Jerry Pigeon, who had served in the position since 1988. Hogan’s memories of the Bishop’s Charities contest trace back to his youth. His father, Jim, is in his 46th year as the game’s coordinator.
“I can remember all the weekends at the diocesan offices when he (Jim) had tens of thousands of tickets that he was trying to distribute,” said Hogan. “He managed to get the tickets out to area chairs and got the (game program) advertising pulled together. There was a lot of effort that went into that.”
The Diocese of Green Bay sold tickets to the game from its inception in 1961 to 1994 when pre-season tickets were made part of the season ticket package.
“Looking back, even here at the bank we sold tickets in the teller lines,” said Hogan. “That continuing partnership between the community and the team has benefited both. The Packers are real generous through their foundation. Their ongoing support of the Charities Game is one more payback for all the good things the community has done for the team. It’s really one of those win-win situations.”
Pigeon, treasurer of the Green Bay Chapter of NFL Alumni, Inc., recruited Hogan for the chairperson’s position.
“My dad and Jerry have had a really long relationship, both a friendship and a working relationship around the game,” explained Hogan. “Jerry has a very deep love and respect for the Packer organization and his involvement in the Bishop’s Charities Game and support of the diocese was there for a long time. He and I had an opportunity to work together here at the bank dating back over 11 years. He was my first banker when I opened a checking account when I was in high school. I’ve known him forever. He knows that I appreciate all the effort and support that the Packers provide to the diocese through the game.”
Hogan admits that his schedule would not allow for the ticket sale responsibilities of years past. His primary responsibility as chair is to serve as a representative of the game’s tradition and to lead the pre-game festivities, which include the presentation of the MVP award from the previous year’s game and a ceremonial first pass thrown by Bishop David Ricken.
“To be able to go out on the field, hand out an award and create some recognition around the game for the good deeds of the diocese was a nice opportunity,” said Hogan. “I was proud that Jerry would approach me and ask me to step in and follow in his shoes and my dad’s shoes.
“It’s an awareness opportunity for the diocese and Catholic Charities,” he added. “It’s typically been a beautiful night for football and that pre-game is a good opportunity to thank the Packers for the donation and to have the bishop in front of 70,000-plus people. Northeast Wisconsin has a strong Catholic population so there is a good chance that a lot of those folks sitting in the stands appreciate the opportunity for the optics on the diocese and all the good efforts it puts forth in terms of supporting the community.”
Hogan, a Green Bay native, lived outside the area for approximately 14 years. He joked that he relocated throughout the NFC North Division.
“I was in Chicago and Minneapolis,” he said. “I didn’t make it to Detroit. I experienced some lean years in those markets relative to the success of the Packers. It’s been good to be back here in my hometown. For me personally, the relationship between the team, the bank and the diocese is pretty special. My opportunity to sort of stay in front of that in this role adds to the fun of that relationship.”
Hogan will be presenting MVP awards to both quarterback Aaron Rodgers and tight end Jermichael Finley for their performances in last year’s 59-24 victory over the Indianapolis Colts in the 50th annual Bishop’s Charities Game. This year will mark the third consecutive honor for Rodgers.
“Aaron couldn’t have been any more nice and genuine on the field,” said Hogan in reference to the 2010 pre-game ceremony. “When they are good folks like that, it’s nice to be able to celebrate with them.”
Hogan, a member of Resurrection Parish in Allouez, lists Bart Starr as his all-time favorite Packer. He and his wife, Irene, have three children, Brigid, a senior at the University of Wisconsin; Kevin, a sophomore at St. Norbert College; and Margaret, a sophomore at Notre Dame Academy. Hogan doubts he will match Pigeon’s longevity, but does hope for a long tenure as the game’s chair.
“It is pretty special,” he said. “Fifty-one years of anything is a long time. There’s a brand awareness around the game after all these years. The tradition goes back to Vince Lombardi and his deep Catholic roots. It’s time to work on the second 50 games.”