100 Days of Olympians: Bill Hougland, men's basketball

Bill Hougland-KU.jpg
1952 Olympic men's basketball team
Posted at 8:00 AM, Apr 14, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-24 01:13:54-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Bill Hougland, a native of Caldwell, Kansas, helped lead the University of Kansas men’s basketball team to the 1952 NCAA title.

A few months later, he helped lead Team USA win gold in the 1952 Olympic Games in Helsinki, Finland.

Seven Jayhawks played on the squad, which went 8-0 overall and beat the Soviet Union for the gold medal. Hougland averaged 6.0 points per game.

He then served as captain during the 1956 Games in Melbourne, Australia, capturing a second gold medal alongside Bill Russell and K.C. Jones among others.

Hougland was the first player to win Olympic gold twice in men's basketball.

He averaged 5.8 points per game in 1956 as the U.S. again went undefeated in eight games and again topped the Soviet Union in the gold-medal game.

Hougland — who eventually returned to Lawrence, where he died in 2017 at age 86 — served as a vice president for Koch Industries and president of Koch Oil after a six-year playing career with the Phillips 66ers of the National Industrial Basketball League.

The Kansas City region has a deep, rich history with respect to the Olympic Games. As the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games approach with the Opening Ceremony scheduled for July 23, we will profile an athlete with ties to Kansas City, Missouri or Kansas each day.

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