September 2, 2011 -
The City of Knoxville will rename Union Square Park in honor of the late Paul Hogue - a Knoxville native who helped lead the University of Cincinnati to two NCAA basketball championships - during a ceremony on Saturday.
The event is set for 11 a.m., Saturday, September 10.
Hogue, who starred at Knoxville's Austin High School and also played in the National Basketball Association, died in 2009 at the age of 69. He was selected as the MVP of the 1962 NCAA Tournament.
The small park, which will now be known as Paul Hogue Park, is located at 500 S. Chestnut Street. It's just around the corner from where the Hogue family lived on Wilson Avenue and it's where he spent many hours playing basketball while growing up.
Mayor Daniel Brown, who is also the City Councilman for the Sixth District, made the request for the name change to the city's Public Property Naming Committee and it was later approved by City Council.
Brown said Ronald Wade initially approached him about naming something in the park for Hogue.
"I thought about it and said, 'Let's just name the whole park for Paul Hogue,' " Brown said.
"He's done something that, to my knowledge, no one else in Knoxville has done," Brown added. "He's the only native Knoxvillian to win the MVP in the national championship game and he grew up in that neighborhood and played in that park."
Hogue, whose father was the principal at Austin High School, grew up during segregation. Austin High School was an all-black high school and when Hogue graduated in 1958 the University of Tennessee and other public universities in the South did not recruit African-American players.
Hogue later told an interviewer that he signed with Cincinnati because it was far enough away from home - but not too far - and because he wanted to play alongside of Bearcats star, Oscar Robertson.
A 6'9" center, Hogue, went on to become a two-time NCAA All-American player and helped lead the Bearcats to an 84-7 mark from 1959-62 and three Missouri Valley Conference Championships.
More importantly Cincinnati won back-to-back NCAA titles in 1961 and 1962. Hogue was captain of the 1962 team and scored 58 points and grabbed 38 rebounds during the semifinal and championship games that season.
He ended his three-year career with the Bearcats (freshmen did not play varsity basketball then) with 1,391 points and 1,088 rebounds. Nearly 50 years after he left the school he remains third on Cincinnati's all-time rebound list and is still one of the top 15 scorers.
After graduating from Cincinnati Hogue was the second overall pick in the 1962 NBA draft going to the New York Knicks. He went on to play three seasons in the NBA for the Knicks and the Baltimore Bullets.
After his NBA career Hogue worked for many years with the U.S. Postal Service including several years in its employee assistance program. He was a dedicated supporter of substance abuse recovery efforts.
Active in his community Hogue served on the Princeton City School Board from 1988-2000 and on the Village Council for the Village of Woodlawn from 2006-2009.
Paul Hogue was married to this wife Patricia, for 43 years, and they raised four children, sons, Eric, Paul Jr. and Thomas and a daughter, Melanie.