Roger Bechtol earned 11 varsity letters at Taylor Center High School and was, in fact, the male athlete of the year in 1958. He went on to earn six varsity letters and both bachelor’s and master’s degrees at Eastern Michigan University and then was hired as a teacher and coach in Taylor.
Bechtol became a coaching legend in Taylor, guiding countless student-athletes in multiple high school sports during a 40-year coaching career. He coached varsity baseball at John F. Kennedy and Harry S Truman high schools for 32 seasons, earning a 492-261 record and guiding his teams to 11 conference titles and six district championships. He coached high school gymnastics for 14 years, compiling a record of 189-32 and leading his teams to 10 league championships, two runners-up, and five Michigan State High School Athletic championships - four at Kennedy in the early 1970s and one at Truman in 1978. He also served on the state and national gymnastics rules committees.
Bechtol is an avid golfer and tournament champion himself. He coached varsity goal and cross country and junior varsity basketball teams at the high school level. He served as a member of the Taylor Recreation Commission and coordinated the junior golf program in Taylor.
Bechtol’s success and treatment of athletes earned him the respect of students, parents and peers, leading to multiple coaches of the year recognition, the naming of the Truman High School baseball field in his honor, and his induction to the Taylor Sports Hall of Fame. Then, on September 21, 2003, he was inducted to the Michigan High School Coaches Association Hall of Fame.