Archive for Thursday, January 16, 1992

S JAYHAWKS GENEROUS

January 16, 1992

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Another of Phog Allen's 30-year All-Americans has resurfaced again in dramatic fashion to the surprise of nobody who ``knew him when.''

That would be Bill Hougland, the former Kansas and Olympic basketball star. Bill and wife Carolie recently committed more than $1.2 million to benefit the KU athletic department, school of business, alumni association and Spencer Museum of Art.

The Houglands, who'll build a house here and will soon call Lawrence home, have long been active in KU affairs. Bill is current alumni association president. Their whopping gift is still another in a long line of expressions of love and appreciation for their alma mater.

Former KU coach Phog Allen would never name his all-time team or favorite players. He inevitably answered that he'd have to wait about 30 years to see how they turned out as citizens.

Wormy Hougland from Beloit didn't even make All-Big Seven as a Jayhawk. But he co-captained KU's 1952 NCAA title team, played on two all-victorious U.S. Olympic teams, captained one, and had an outstanding career with the Phillips 66ers of AAU fame. Then Bill obviously did a lot of other things right with Koch Oil and Koch Industries of Wichita before retiring.

IT'S INTERESTING to note Hougland is a member of the Phi Gamma Delta fraternity chapter at KU, and that two other ex-Jayhawks of that same fraternal persuasion also have been quite generous to their school.

Gil Reich, a star guard on the 1953 NCAA runnerup club, was in the Phi Gam house about the same time as Hougland, and has contributed in the six-figure realm to KU. North Carolina coach Dean Smith, like Reich a member of the '53 team and a Phi Gam, has given more than $50,000 to the university. Reich became a major executive with Equitable Life Assurance before retiring.

Another ``modern'' basketeer who has been similarly generous is Guy Mabry, Owens-Corning exec from the late 1940s. Then there is super-All-American Paul Endacott, the Lawrence product and onetime Phillips executive, one of KU's greatest benefactors. When they needed an extra million dollars or so to put the Adams Alumni Center over the hump, Paul rode to the rescue. He's repeatedly done ever so many things like that for his beloved school, where he was an All-American under Phog in 1921-23.

AT 6-5, Bill Hougland's forte at KU was defense. He was less than a Mikhail Barishnykov with his footwork, but Bill had an intensity that could overwhelm you. Handsome, charming, quick to grin and witty, he was dead-serious on the basketball court. He could rebound with ferocity, score in a pinch and refused to accept defeat without giving everything he had. Bill was a good student as well as an accomplished athlete. It was clear he'd be a success in any field he chose. Yet he'd be the first to tell you his beloved wife Carolie had just as much to do with the family's many achievements, including four daughters and a son who are KU grads.

One night in practice, Phog was pleased with Bill's defensive work and called the other players to note how Hougland was able to ``worm his way'' through traffic to get the job done. It was inevitable he'd be ``Wormy.'' Clyde Lovellette and the guys never passed up an opening like that.

Hougland as a senior overcame serious leg problems to play and contribute heavily as KU surged to the national college crown in 1952, then starred with six other Jayhawks as the United States swept to the Olympic crown in Helsinki, Finland.

WHEN PHOG ALLEN returned for the '48 season after recuperating from a 1947 head injury, he told assistant Dick Harp to help him recruit three Kansas kids and Indianan Clyde Lovellette. And to promise them that KU would win the college title and go to the Olympics in 1952. Even Harp, who played for the magical Doc, had to blink to choke that one down. But Dick and Phog went hard after Bill Hougland of Beloit, Bill Lienhard of Newton and Bob Kenney of Winfield, along with Lovellette, constantly selling the idea that things would fall into place in '52. It happened because they all dreamed and worked and wouldn't accept anything less.

Bill Hougland might not have commanded as much newspaper ink as some of his teammates, didn't even make all-league. But Bill was the intelligent, dedicated and enthusiastic type of individual who forces big dreams to come true. Phillips Petroleum found that out, the 1956 Olympians voted him their captain, and obviously the Koch people decided he was one of Phog's true All-Americans.

We talk often about KU's marvelous athletic heritage, particularly in basketball. It's the Houglands, Reichs, Smiths, Mabrys and Endacotts who give it that extra-special luster by evolving into the longterm All-Americans Phog always wanted to turn out.

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