Houston Hogg

Houston Hogg, right, at the 2016 unveiling of a statue of him and the three other African-American football players at Kentucky who helped break the Southeastern Conference color line. — Mark Cornelison/Lexington Herald-Leader via AP, File

LEXINGTON, Ky. — Houston Hogg, one of four African-American football players at the University of Kentucky who helped break the Southeastern Conference color line in the late 1960s, has died. He was 71.

The school announced Friday that Hogg died in Owensboro, Kentucky.

The former Wildcats running back and defensive back entered Kentucky with Wilbur Hackett in 1967, a year after Nate Northington and Greg Page arrived in Lexington to become the first Black players to enroll at an SEC school.

Hogg played freshman football that season, when Northington made his historic varsity debut for the Wildcats on Sept. 23, 1967, and played his first SEC game a week later against Mississippi.

Northington’s SEC debut came a day after Page died from a neck injury sustained in practice that summer.

Hogg rushed 92 times for 245 yards and two touchdowns in his career and lettered in 1969 and 1970.

He and his three teammates were honored for their groundbreaking courage and achievements in September 2016 with a statue outside the Wildcats’ training facility.

The four received the Michael L. Slive Distinguished Service Award at the 2017 SEC Football Championship Game.

Hogg, of Hazard, Kentucky, played at Daviess County High School in Owensboro.

The Wildcats’ 2019 season opener against Toledo was designated Houston Hogg Day and he served as honorary team captain.

Kentucky athletic director Mitch Barnhart said in the release that Hogg’s contributions “go well beyond the football field” and “his pioneering legacy will live on for generations.”

He praised his work with foster children “for whom he gave exceptional care.”

The Associated Press

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