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SCHOLARSHIP
Rick McGowan, Daily News sports writer.

Newport- As the Rogers High School baseball team closes in on a division championship this week, one of its leaders is going to be singled out for special recognition.

A Vikings’ senior will be the recipient of the first Stephen Joseph Fougere Baseball Scholarship during the school’s annual awards night, Thursday at 7 p.m. in the school auditorium.

The award is named for the late Steve Fougere Jr., an outfielder on Rogers’ only state-champion team in 1971 and an all-state selection in 1972.

Fougere was a freshman at the University of Rhode Island for just four weeks when he was killed in a car accident in North Kingstown on Oct. 6, 1972.

As a senior, Fougere led Rogers in batting average (.348), hits (16), RBIs (14) and home runs (3).

“He was a real talent,” said Ray Mey, now an FBI agent in Utah who was a pitcher on the championship team and grew up with Fougere when they played in the Fifth Ward Little League before high school and American Legion ball. “He stood out among other kids”

There were many kids in Newport in the 1960s, Mey can count six siblings. Fougere had five.

Mey’s younger brother Steve, a 1975 Rogers graduate, remembers Fougere’s presence at the plate. “He was a very powerful player.” Steve Mey said about Fougere, a 6-foot-1, 185 pounder. “He looked and moved like a player. He had a full swing. When he got to the plate and hit, he defined a baseball player. He had so much going for him.”

Fougere’s death was deeply felt by the Mey family. “My father was quite rocked by it” Steve Mey said, “Steve practically lived in our house with us.”

Walter Mey, Ray and Steve Mey’s father set up the Stephen Joseph Fougere Award, which ran from 1972 –82. “My father had seven kids all going to college during that time,” Steve Mey said. “He didn’t have the resources to continue it.”

Walter Mey died two years ago. Steve Mey, now an insurance executive in Maryland, still has strong ties to the City-by-the-Sea. He is director of the Mariner’s Memorial Foundation, a non-profit organization that is funding the Fougere scholarship, which is for $1000.

The Mariner’s Memorial Foundation raises money by selling engravable granite bricks. They are placed at the memorial on Ocean Drive, which is dedicated to those who were drowned at sea, lost at sea or loved the sea.

Fougere was an avid fisherman with his father, who is retired from the state department of natural resources and is recognized as one of the best anglers in the state. “He fished with his father on a daily basis,” said Steve Mey, noting Fougere won awards in striped bass tournaments. “His father taught him well.”

There is a Daily News Photo of the Fougeres in the July 19, 1971 edition showing them weighing in six stripers after a night off of Ocean Drive. The fish ranged from 26 pounds to 39 pounds twelve ounces.

Fougere was in the marine sciences program at the URI. The Mariners Memorial Foundation plans to create a scholarship for a Rogers student interested in the marine sciences. Steve Mey’s goal is to have at least a half-dozen college scholarships set up for other worthy recipients from Rogers. They will be selected based on their financial need, high grade-point average and intent to further their education in college.

“It’s all the money we take in, all the granite we sell out on Ocean Drive,” Steve Mey said. “We invest it and take the interest. This is the first year.”
And definitely not the last for the Fougere scholarship.

“I’m just continuing what my father did, and I’m going to keep this going,” Steve Mey said. “I’ll set it up so it lasts at least 10 years past my death.”

As long as we have the money coming in for these scholarships, that’s where it’s going to go.”

In continuing in the tradition of his father in giving back to his community, Steve Mey received a big helping hand from another Newporter whose brother’s name once graced A Rogers trophy.

The Larry Regan Scholarship was awarded in honor of a former Vikings’ catcher who died in his 30s of cancer. Ray Mey was the recipient in 1971, Fougere in 1972.

“I think Steve was the last one to get it before the money ran out,” Steve Mey said.

He learned about the demise of that award last week while talking to Billy Regan, Leroy’s brother, about the Fougere scholarship.

He also learned that Billy Regan would match the $1000. “I did not expect that, “ Steve Mey said. “That really floored me. That’s pretty nice of him.”

As a result, on deserving senior from what might be Rogers’ second state-title team will shake hands with Steve Mey and be presented a check for $2000.

It will be handed to him by Stephen and Mary Fougere, the parents of one of the most fondly remembered athletes in Rogers’ history.

 

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