Former Jayhawk Hogben on hand

J-W Staff Reports, Sunday, January 28, 2007

Bill Hogben, a member of Phog Allen’s 1940 national championship runner-up team, attended his second game in Allen Fieldhouse on Saturday. His only other visit was for KU’s 100 years of basketball anniversary celebration in 1998. “How they have improved the facilities, my gosh!” exclaimed Hogben, 87, who grew up in Kansas City then relocated to California after graduation in 1941.

Hogben, who served as a lieutenant in the U.S. Navy, was an eight-time senior softball World Series champion and a regionally ranked tennis player.

He played his home games in Hoch Auditorium, not Allen Fieldhouse. “The auditorium was fairly big, but you would just about run through the doors if you ran too fast,” Hogben said.

Allen nicknamed that 1939-40 team the “Pony Express” because of its talented guards. The squad went 19-6, losing to Indiana, 60-42, in the national finals in Kansas City. Howard Engleman, Don Ebling, Dick Harp, Ralph Miller, Bruce Reid, Jack Sands and Bruce Voran were some members of that squad. “We hated to lose to Indiana, but you reach the finals, that’s pretty good,” Hogben said. “Indiana had a really good team that year.”