The University of Kentucky is working on some football facility upgrades that, when unveiled next fall, will also include the installation of four statues that will honor players that helped to break the color barrier within the program and the SEC.
According to NBC Sports, outside of Commonwealth Stadium statues of Greg Page, Nate Northington, Wilber Hackett and Houston Hogg will stand to honor their contributions to causes of equality in athletics.
In 1966, Page and Northington were the first African American football players to be added to Kentucky’s roster. Tragically, Page never got a chance to play a game at Kentucky because he died from a paralyzing neck injury that he suffered in practice. Northington, however, was added to Kentucky’s starting line-up in Page’s honor in the following game, and became the African American football player to play a game in the SEC. Northington’s glory was short lived, and suffering from grief, and he left Kentucky soon after the death of Page.
Later, Hackett and Hogg became the first African American football players to graduate from the University of Kentucky.
It was a big week of honor for former players Page and Northington, who were also inducted in Kentucky’s Athletics Hall of Fame. At a dinner in honor of the players induction last Friday, the university announced the decision to construct statues of the four former Kentucky football players.
In an interview with The Courier-Journal, athletic director Mitch Barnhart said, “You can put a mascot out there and that’s all good – and we’ve done that on one side of the campus – but I don’t know if there’s anything more unique than something that changes culture and changes society and changes the way people thing, and these four guys did that.”
*Featured Photo (above) credit to USA TODAY Sports