A pioneer of integration in Southeastern Conference football
LEXINGTON, Kentucky – Houston Hogg, a member of the University of Kentucky football team from 1967-70 and a pioneer of integration in Southeastern Conference football, has died in Owensboro.
“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 began his playing career in his native Hazard, Kentucky, before finishing high school at Daviess County in Owensboro. He was named all-state as a senior for the Daviess County team that went 10-0. He also competed in basketball, baseball and track.
Hogg enrolled at Kentucky in the fall of 1967, one year behind Nate Northington and Greg Page, who were the first African-American football players in SEC history.
Hogg played tailback and defensive back for UK’s freshman team in 1967. He played running back for the varsity and was a letterman in 1969-70. His career statistics featured 92 rushing attempts for 245 yards and two touchdowns. He also caught 20 passes for 135 yards and returned five kickoffs for 79 yards. A career highlight came against Ole Miss in 1969, as his 17-yard run on a third-down play set up Bernie Scruggs’ game-winning touchdown run in UK’s 10-9 upset of the No. 8-ranked Rebels.
Hogg and his African-American teammates – including Wilbur Hackett, who enrolled at UK the same year as Hogg – faced prejudice while breaking the SEC color barrier, but their noble work paved the way for thousands of others to follow at UK and the SEC, forever changing the face of sports in the South.
The courage and sacrifice of Hogg, Northington, Page and Hackett were recognized in 2016 with the dedication of a statue which stands between Kroger Field and the Joe Craft Football Training Facility. A year later, they received the Michael L. Slive Distinguished Service Award at the 2017 SEC Football Championship Game, marking the 50th anniversary of Northington becoming the first African-American to play in an SEC varsity football contest.
Hogg returned to the UK campus on other occasions, most recently for the 2019 season opener vs. Toledo, which was Houston Hogg Day at Kroger Field. He served as honorary captain for that game, won 38-24 by the Wildcats.