Charlie Hoag Born: July 19, 1931 (Guthrie, OK)
Sponsored by: Bill Hougland Graduated: Oak Park and River Forest High School (Oak Park, IL), 1949; University of Kansas, 1953
Deceased: March 8, 2008 (Lawrence, KS)
Like many inductees, if it weren’t for his parents, Charles M. “Charlie” Hoag would not have been inducted to the Kansas Sports Hall of Fame. Of course, they had an influence on his life, teaching their son about right and wrong and allowing him to play sports as a child. But, it was their influence in helping him pick a school that leads Charlie Hoag to the Kansas Sports Hall of Fame.
If it were up to Charlie, he would have probably had gone to the University of Oklahoma, rather than the University of Kansas. Hoag, a standout athlete from Oak Park, Illinois, was heavily recruited by 2006 Kansas Sports Hall of Fame inductee Jack Mitchell, a star player for the Sooners at the time.
When Hoag told his parents about his decision to attend Oklahoma, they were, in his words, “so upset because they wanted me to go to Kansas.” After a rough night of no sleep, Hoag changed his mind and chose to attend the University of Kansas instead.
Little did anyone at the University of Kansas realize just what they were getting with the versatile Hoag. 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.
What Hoag thought was just a trial run on the hardwood so the team would have enough players to practice turned into one of the greatest stories in University of Kansas Athletics history.
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.
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.
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.
To cap off his career at KU, Hoag was drafted to play football by the Cleveland Browns in the 1953 NFL Draft, making him one of the only players to win an Olympic gold medal in one sport and be drafted professionally in another.