Kentucky Football Trailblazer Houston Hogg Dead at 71

LEXINGTON, Ky. – Houston Hogg, a member of the University of Kentucky football team from 1967-70 died Thursday in Owensboro. He was 71. 

Hogg enrolled at UK in the fall of 1967, a year behind Nate Northington and Greg Page, the first African-American football players in the Southeastern Conference.

“Houston’s contributions to our football program, our university and the SEC go well beyond the football field,” said Mitch Barnhart, UK Director of Athletics. “His pioneering legacy will live on for generations to come through the young people for whom he paved the way and the dozens of foster children for whom he gave exceptional care. We are so proud he was a Wildcat and send our heartfelt condolences to his family and all those whose lives he touched.”

Hogg, a native of Hazard, Kentucky, played tailback and defensive back for UK’s freshman squad in 1967. He switched to running back for the varsity and was a letterman in 1969-70. A career highlight for Hogg came in 1969 in a game against the Ole Miss Rebels. On third down, Hogg ran for 17 yards setting up Bernie Scruggs who would score the game-winning touchdown in UK’s 10-9 upset of the No. 8-ranked Rebels.

Hogg, Northington, Page, and Wilbur Hackett all enrolled at UK the same year and faced prejudice while breaking the SEC color barrier. Their work paved the way for players at UK and across the SEC, changing the face of sports in the South. 

Kentucky honored the four men in 2016 with a statue that stands between Kroger Field and the Joe Craft Football Training Facility.

COURTESY UK ATHLETICS

 

In 2017, the group received the Michael L. Slive Distinguished Service Award at the 2017 SEC Football Championship Game, which marked the 50th anniversary of Northington becoming the first African-American to play in an SEC varsity football game.

Hogg often returned to UK, the most recent was the 2019 season opener vs. Toledo, which was Houston Hogg Day at Kroger Field. He served as an honorary captain for the game, which the Cats won 38-24.