Sept. 23, 2010
Harold Patterson (football, basketball, baseball, 1952-54)
Patterson, a Rozel, Kan., native lettered in football, men’s basketball and baseball from 1952-54, thus becoming the 32nd three-sport letterwinner in Kansas history. Overall, Patterson played in 46 men’s basketball games and averaged 10.3 points per contest. He was a starter on the 1952-53 men’s basketball team that advanced to the championship game of the NCAA Tournament; the following season he averaged 11.2 points per game. During the 1953 baseball season he hit .236 while playing shortstop in 10 of 16 games for the Jayhawks.
A key contributor on KU’s 1952 and 1953 football teams, Patterson continued his football career in the Canadian Football League, and was a perennial all-star, playing for Grey Cup-winning teams in 1963, 1965 and 1967. During his 14-year career he scored 76 touchdowns, caught 460 passes for 9,473 yards and tied the league record for pass receptions in 1960. Patterson was inducted into the Canadian Football Hall of Fame in 1971.
Known as Hal, Patterson played for the Montreal Alouettes from 1954-60 and the Hamilton Tiger-Cats from 1961-67. He was named Eastern All-Defensive Back for five consecutive seasons – 1954-58 – and was also named Eastern All-Offensive End seven times – 1956, 1957, 1960, 1962, 1963, 1964 and 1965. In 1962, 1963 and 1964 Patterson was named All-Canadian Offensive End.
He was awarded the CFL’s (Schenley) Most Outstanding Player Award in 1956, as well as the Jeff Russel Memorial Trophy, recognizing the most outstanding player in the CFL’s East Division.
What factors led you to choosing KU?
“My Junior College coach, Ed Hall, was the biggest influence in leading me to KU. He had played at KU.”
What made you to decide to play football, basketball, and baseball?
“I liked to play sports. Phog Allen liked to have football players on his basketball team so I didn’t have a problem there.”
You lettered in three sports, was it hard to play all three sports and keep up with school on top of that?
“Yes, but I wanted to play so I just did it.”
What is your fondest memory of playing at KU?
“It would definitely have to be playing as a starter for the 1953 Basketball team in the National Championship game. We lost to Indiana 68-69.”
What made you decide to continue your football career after college instead of basketball or baseball?
“It was really how long the training camps were. I really wanted to play baseball, but the training camps for baseball were a lot longer than for football and I didn’t want to have to wait so long to see if I was going to get to play. I was drafted by the Philadelphia Eagles, but chose to go play in Canada. My style of play fit more with the play in Canada. At the time, in the NFL, they ran more than they passed the ball.”
Did you keep up with KU athletics after you graduated? Do you still now?
“Oh, yea, I keep up with KU sports on TV. With my health the way it is, I can’t do much but watch them on TV.”
A lot of things have changed to Memorial Stadium and Allen Fieldhouse, have you been able to come back and see any of the changes?
“I was back in 1997 for the 100th Anniversary year of Kansas Basketball. I got to see the changes at that time.”
You played in the Canadian Football League for 14 years after you left KU in 1954, what have you been doing since then?
“After pro-football, I returned home and went into the dirt construction business with my brothers building terraces and leveling land. I basically have been working in the fields since football ended up until about a year ago when I had to quit because of my health.”
Could you tell us about your family?
“I have three kids – Angee, David, and Tammy.”
What does it mean to you to be inducted into the KU Athletics Hall of Fame?
“I’ve been inducted in to 4 hall of fames now – Garden City, Canadian, Kansas, and now KU — so I guess they saved the best for last!”