Press "Enter" to skip to content

Former Gadsden County teacher puts pen to paper, publishes two

Former Gadsden County High School teacher John Nogowski has found the first few months of his retirement as busy as when he was prowling around Room 416 for the last 12 years teaching AP Literature, AP Language, Journalism, and English to Gadsden County students.

“Though I didn’t really plan it this way, I have two books out now at the same time,” he said. “It’s kind of crazy but that’s how the writing business goes sometimes.”

In July, Nogowski published Last Time Out, a book that captures stories surrounding the final major-league game played by some of the game’s finest players.

“I got the idea when I was working at the Tallahassee Democrat and got a chance to meet the famous novelist John Updike,” explained Nogowski. “Updike had written a remarkable story about Boston Red Sox star Ted Williams’ final game – Williams hit a HR in his final at bat – and after we chatted about his story, I started to wonder how other great players had done in their final game. My book started there.”

John Nogowski, a retired Gadsden County High School teacher, has two new books published. While Nogowski retired before the start of this school year, he’s been plenty busy putting pen to paper.

The original copy of Last Time Out came out in 2004 with 25 player stories in it.

For this updated edition, Nogowski added 17 new chapters on recent baseball retirees like Derek Jeter, Roger Clemens, Barry Bonds, David Ortiz, and others.

“The most fun chapter for me was the last chapter,” Nogowski said. “After writing about all these players’ final game, I decided to end the book with an account of my son’s very first major-league game.”

John Nogowski Jr. debuted in 2020 with the St. Louis Cardinals in Chicago; he played for St. Louis and Pittsburgh last season.

“It was a nice way to end the book and fun to look back at that magical day,” said Nogowski, whose son won two state titles at North Florida Christian and was an All-ACC first team standout at Florida State.

But there was more than sports.

Nogowski’s most recent release is Bob Dylan: A Descriptive, Critical Discography and Filmography 1961-2022.

This is the third edition of a book on Bob Dylan that Nogowski started in 1995.

“I’ve kept up with Dylan’s career, which just seems to keep going,” he said. “I updated the book in 2007 to include his work to that point, but so much has happened to him since then; he won the Nobel Prize for Literature, had an award-winning book, several movies, some acclaimed albums and all kinds of archival material has come out. I spent my summer vacation last year listening to Bob Dylan and writing about what I heard.”

Nogowski, like American Novelist Henry David Thoreau, has found solitude in being away from the echoing sounds from the city, or in this case, school.

Although teaching was a passion for him, he is glad that ride is over.

“I did the very best job I could for as long as I could,” said Nogowski. “I’m sure I’ll hear from a few kids from time to time but if I don’t, that’s ok, too. I know what we had in our time together.”

Nogowksi is currently working on a story about the Ronald Reagan-George Bush debate from 1980.

Exploring a fascinating backstory on the ordinary life of a simple upcoming journalist, the readers will be able to relive from a different perspective the moment that changed history. 

Both books are available on and by order at any local bookstore.

Maybelline Somoza – Gadsden County News Service