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Black History Month: How Basketball Took Paul Hogue from Five Points to the NBA  
Paul Hogue
Basketball legend Paul Hogue goes for a rebound.

For Knoxville native Paul Hogue, basketball proved to become his ticket for living "the American dream."

Paul H. "Duke" Hogue was born April 28, 1940 in Knoxville, Tennessee to Otis Thomas Hogue and Melissa Mae Holland Hogue.

Born and raised in a house on Wilson Avenue in the Five Points community, Hogue played basketball on courts in the park across the street, which was previously known as Union Square Park.

Paul Hogue home
Paul Hogue grew up playing basketball in the City of Knoxville's Union Square Park, now named Paul Hogue Park, which was across the street from the home he was born in on Wilson Avenue.

He was a standout basketball player at Austin High School (where his father was principal) and Vine Junior High School.

After graduating high school in 1958, Hogue went on to play for the University of Cincinnati, where he helped bring the basketball team to two NCAA National Championships  (1961 and 1962).  A 6'9" center, he averaged 16.8 points and 12.4 rebounds per game as a senior.

In 1962, Hogue was named MVP of the Final Four, U.S. Basketball Writer’s Association first team All-American, and Helms Foundation Player of the Year. In his three-year career at Cincinnati, Hogue scored 1,391 points, which was third at the time behind Oscar Robertson and Jack Twyman.

He graduated in 1962 with a bachelor’s degree in Education. He was the number 1 draft pick by the NBA’s New York Knicks in 1962, and later went on to play for the NBA’s Baltimore Bullets.

Hogue served in the United States Postal Services for 21 years, eventually working for the Post Service’s Employee Assistance Program where he became a long-time dedicated and involved advocate in the field of substance abuse recovery in his community.

Hogue was married to his wife, Patricia Brown Hogue, for 43 years until his death in 2009. They had four children--three sons, Eric, Paul Jr., Thomas, and one daughter, Melanie. Eric, the oldest son, serves as Athletics Supervisor for the City of Morristown (Tennessee). Paul Jr. went on to become a decorated Captain of two U.S. Navy ships, the USS DEFENDER and the USS CURTIS WILBUR. Thomas studied at the University of Tennessee College of Medicine in Chattanooga before becoming certified in Obstetrics and Gynecology. Melanie serves in the school system in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Upon his death, Paul Hogue’s athletic achievements were acknowledged in the August 2009 issue of Sports Illustrated and in the New York Times. On September 11, 2011, Hogue’s wife, four children, extended family and life-long friends attended a dedication ceremony as City of Knoxville Mayor Daniel T. Brown officially renamed Union Square Park to Paul Hogue Park.

Paul Hogue Park naming ceremony
Mayor Daniel Brown and Patricia Hogue, widow of Paul Hogue, unveil the plaque for Paul Hogue Park naming ceremony.

"He's done something that, to my knowledge, no one else in Knoxville has done," Mayor Daniel Brown stated at the time of the park's renaming ceremony. "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."

For a Knoxville News Sentinel article that covered the park renaming at the time, click here.

For information and directions for Paul Hogue Park, click here.

Posted by On 01 March, 2017 at 10:12 AM