Artie Rogers would probably fail as a salesman in the retail world.
That job often requires a bit of product embellishment to make the marketed item more appealing to consumers, and such stretching of the truth is simply not in the T.F. North football coach's DNA.
"Faking something is not his style," said Meteors assistant coach Tim Zasada, who first coached with Rogers in 1995 at Hammond High.
The straightforward method has certainly worked well for Rogers on the sidelines. In his third year in charge of North's program, he convinced a small group of players whose ranks had been further thinned by injuries that there was no reason to panic.
"He gave us a lot of insight and opened our eyes," said senior Dion Beecham, who became the Meteors' starting quarterback in Week 3 following a season-ending injury to Calvin Lindsey.
"He had patience -- we made mistakes, but he wasn't always yelling -- and that was really important. He said don't let anyone tell us we can't do anything, just go out there and play ball."
That's what North did, well enough to score regular-season wins over District 215 rival T.F. South, plus playoff qualifiers Bremen and Eisenhower. The Meteors reached the state tournament themselves and put Oak Forest on the ropes in the opening round before the Bengals rallied.
Nevertheless, it was a year of achievement in Calumet City, perhaps somewhat unexpectedly given the unfavorable circumstances. For that reason, Rogers has been chosen as The Times Coach of the Year.
"They could have easily folded their tents and would have had plenty of excuses to give, but that wasn't the case," Rogers said of his players. "The kids were really disappointed against Oak Forest. That was the most gratifying part.
"It seems that there's not much (outside) belief in the kids, even in the building. There was a long period where T.F. North (football) struggled, and that's not going away, but we focus on what we can control."
Rogers also focused on a no-frills approach when it came to dealing with his athletes and evaluating them.
"I'm very honest with the kids," he said. "They know where I'm coming from, and I try to be upfront with them, both good and bad. I have a hard time selling a kid on something that isn't true.
"I just try to be myself -- that's probably my strength."
Rogers will get no argument from his longtime buddy in that regard.
"We don't lie to them or make things up, and we don't like to sugarcoat things," Zasada said. "Artie doesn't talk much, but when he does, they listen and they take it pretty seriously.
"This was definitely a challenging season for us, but Artie did a fabulous job of using what we had and using it to our advantage. He was letting those players know he had confidence in them, and that goes a long way."
Rogers and Zasada represent coaching's yin and yang.
The latter, the head coach of the Meteors from 2001-06, had Rogers as defensive coordinator for five of those years and is noted for his fiery demeanor. Zasada calls his association with the more laid-back Rogers "the perfect combination."
When he became North's head coach himself in 2009, Rogers didn't hesitate to call upon Zasada.
"He's an important piece," Rogers said. "I don't know if there's anybody around who sells the kids better on playing hard, and I don't try to change him into something he's not. We understand what we each do and what we're good at."
"They're both great coaches," Beecham said. "Coach Rogers told us how to face reality and deal with it. He said things we learn on the high school level we'll take with us (as adults)."
That, even more than the on-field success, is what Rogers loves about working with teenagers. When several former North players returned for the Week 9 game against Eisenhower, he got a reminder of the impact coaches can have on their athletes.
"This isn't the most important thing they'll do, but if you can get through this, you can get through most of the things you're going to deal with in life," Rogers said. "Bad things happen in life, but you've got to suck it up, and we get guys buying into that.
"When they go through it, they don't really appreciate how much they're going to miss this. We preach to the kids about enjoying what's going on."
2011 was definitely a season for the Meteors to enjoy.