Loggan’s impact extended well beyond North Central

In September, approximately 10 rows in front of the North Central football press box in which I was seated, a man was having a heart attack.

Center Grove fans who made the drive to the northside of Indianapolis remember the night. The start of the Trojans’ game against the Panthers was delayed nearly an hour so medical personnel could attempt to revive the victim and eventually transport him to a nearby hospital.

The night’s most enduring image, for me, at least, was North Central athletic director Paul Loggan, no small man by any stretch, repeatedly pressing on the man’s chest in a last-ditch attempt to bring him back.

The heart attack victim passed away that evening.

Loggan exhaled his last breaths Sunday afternoon, a victim of the COVID-19 pandemic. Loggan was 57, leaving behind a wife, three children and enough friends to fill the football stadium he had been so closely associated with as a teacher, coach, and administrator.

Looking back, I’m honored to say I was one of those friends, having covered hundreds of sporting events involving one North Central team or another since 1985. The two of us were in our 20s when we met, and whether Loggan was coaching the Panthers’ defense on the gridiron or, more recently, attempting to be in five places at once as AD, we took time to chat.

He was Mr. North Central. Period.

Loggan’s far-reaching impact became more evident Monday night, when football stadiums throughout the state kept their lights on to honor a man who literally made a career of putting others first.

In Johnson County alone, Center Grove, Edinburgh, Franklin, Greenwood, Indian Creek and Whiteland took part, as did Franklin College. Stadiums at Indiana University, Butler and Loggan’s alma mater, the University of Indianapolis, were lit up to show support, as were high school stadiums from Angola to West Lafayette to Muncie to Milan to Paoli.

For someone who lived for football Friday nights as a coach, parent (his two sons, Michael and Will, played for North Central) and administrator, a more fitting tribute couldn’t have been devised.

“Just a true sportsman. When Paul was coaching and if you beat his team, he was the first to shake your hand and slap you on the back,” said Center Grove football coach Eric Moore, one of hundreds of coaching friends Loggan had around the state. “As an administrator, he was all about the kids and making their experience great.

“Paul cared about every little detail and appreciated every sport. The North Central kids beamed when they saw him because he was genuine and he cared about them. I don’t know … it hurts.”

Loggan, who was in his sixth school year as athletic director after two decades as North Central’s assistant AD, played a role in the formation of the Metropolitan Interscholastic Conference that includes North Central, Center Grove, Carmel, Ben Davis and others.

Even with the MIC commonly regarded as the state’s elite high school sports conference, Loggan did what he could in order for it to maintain such lofty status. Somehow, someway, the league could always improve.

Before his passing, Loggan was one of the last three athletic administrators remaining from the original MIC. The other two were Carmel assistant AD Bruce Wolfe, who is retiring this year, and Jon Zwitt, Center Grove’s athletic director since the 1996-97 school year.

“Paul had a lot of positive attributes. He was as kind as can be, but could be as intense as a hungry bear,” Zwitt said. “Work or play, he was as passionate as could be.”

Now, sadly, Paul Loggan is gone far too soon.

Enjoy those stadium lights, my friend, because, as Monday so clearly indicated, now every night can be Friday.

Mike Beas is a sportswriter for the Daily Journal. He can be reached at [email protected].