Former Kansas men’s basketball great Bill Hougland passes
In 2014, Bill Hougland (left) received the K-Club Lifetime Service Award.LAWRENCE, Kan. – William “Bill” Hougland, former Kansas men’s basketball player and the first player in Olympic basketball history to win two gold medals died March 6 in Lawrence. He was 86.
A three-year letterwinner from 1950-52, Hougland was a member of Kansas’ 1952 NCAA National Championship team under head coach Dr. F.C. “Phog” Allen. Hougland played in 77 games in his three-year KU career and helped lead the Jayhawks to the 1950 and 1952 Big Seven Conference regular-season titles.
Hougland was one of seven KU players selected as part of the 1952 US Olympic team that won the gold medal in Helsinki, Finland. He returned to the Games 1956 in Melbourne, Australia, when his National Industrial Basketball League (a forerunner of the NBA) team, the Phillips 66ers, won the Olympic playoff and was awarded five slots on the US Olympic team. He was inducted into the State of Kansas Sports Hall of Fame in 2006 and the Kansas Athletics Hall of Fame in 2008.
“We lost one of our all-time KU greats today in Bill Hougland,” Kansas men’s basketball coach Bill Self said. “Bill was not only successful as an athlete at Kansas, being part of the 1952 team and winning two Olympic gold medals, but a very successful business man during his adult years and made Lawrence his home. He leaves behind a beautiful family and will be missed by all.”
Hougland was raised in El Dorado, Kansas, and moved to Beloit, Kansas, his junior year in high school. He led Beloit High School to the Class A state championship game for the first time in school history, and earned All-State honors in 1948.
Following his remarkable college and Olympic basketball career, Hougland was drafted into the Air Force and served in Japan for over a year. He then worked for the Phillips Petroleum Co. in Bartlesville, Oklahoma, for eight years. He then joined Koch Industries Inc., the parent company of Koch Oil Inc., in Wichita. He served as vice president for Koch Industries and president of Koch Oil before he retired in 1991.
In 1993, Hougland and his wife, Carolie, committed more than $1.2 million to benefit the University of Kansas University athletic department, School of Business, Alumni Association and the Helen Foresman Spencer Museum of Art. The Houglands are an active members of Kansas Athletics’ K Club, which connects former student-athletes, coaches and managers with current student-athletes. They are also active in the KU Alumni Association and the Williams Education Fund. In 2014, Hougland received the K Club Lifetime Service Award given to an outstanding contributor to the University and athletics department.
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