Born: July 19, 1931 (Guthrie, OK)
Graduated: Oak Park High School (Oak Park, IL), 1949; University of Kansas, 1953
Deceased: March 8, 2012 (Lawrence, KS)
One of the greatest all-around athletes in KU history, Charlie Hoag holds a unique distinction of winning an Olympic gold medal in one sport and being drafted professionally in another.
Arrival at KU
Little did anyone at the University of Kansas realize just what they were getting when the versatile Hoag arrived on campus. Although he intended to play football at KU, athletically, Hoag could do it all. His athleticism attracted the eye of head basketball coach and Kansas Sports Hall of Fame Charter Inductee, Forrest “Phog” Allen, and Allen asked Hoag to join the basketball team.
Hoag excelled playing for Allen and even broke into the starting lineup at times as a sophomore in 1951, teaming up with Kansas Sports Hall of Fame inductees Clyde Lovellette, Bill Hougland, Bill Lienhard, and Bob Kenney.
National Championship and the Olympics
The following season, the same core group of players returned and magic happened in Lawrence as the Jayhawks won the 1952 NCAA National Championship. Although a junior on a team full of seniors, Hoag was a major contributor during the national championship run, including scoring nine points in the National Championship game against St. John’s University. Hoag performed so well in fact, that he was named to the All-Tournament second-team.
The 1952 season didn’t end with the National Championship however as seven Jayhawks, including Hoag, were chosen to represent the United States in the 1952 Helsinki Olympics following their performance in the Olympic Qualifying Tournament. Hoag played in seven of the eight games at the Olympics and helped propel the United States to the gold medal over the Soviet Union.
Hoag's "Other" Athletic Exploits
Although many will recognize his talents on the hardwood, Hoag’s athleticism also showed on the gridiron where he was a two-time All-Big Seven Conference running back. Hoag led the Jayhawks in rushing and receiving as a junior captain of the team in 1952. Nearly sixty years after his football career at KU ended, Hoag still holds spots near the top in school history in several offensive categories, including career all-purpose yards with 3,233.
HonorsHoag was inducted to the Chicagoland Sports Hall of Fame in 2003, the Illinois Basketball Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 2004, and the University of Kansas Athletics Hall of Fame in 2008. Hoag was posthumously honored with Tradition of Excellence Award from Oak Park River Forest High School in 2013.