Ken Hogarty ’66 Releases Sports-Inspired Novel

Dr. Ken Hogarty ’66 was in a very familiar setting. He was five minutes early and had time to gather his thoughts while waiting for instructor Lauren Murray’s AP Literature students to enter the classroom. Ken, who spent 46 years as a teacher, counselor and principal at Sacred Heart Cathedral (and a former student himself), was always comfortable in front of students, but this day was different.

Ken, who retired from SHC in 2018, was back on campus to discuss his new novel Recruiting Blue Chip Prospects and, most importantly, to inspire the next generation of writers.

His new book, set in 1991, details the fictional high-stakes recruitment of T.R. Ward, a top collegiate basketball prospect. The novel spotlights his senior classmate and friend, Patrick Kiernan, recruited by a local sports editor to chronicle Ward and the team’s season. The book features memorable characters and villains who make unsavory choices. Ken said it shines a light on a time when “big money” started asserting itself in the recruitment process.

Ken, who has authored numerous stories, memoirs, features, satires and comedy sketches that appeared in various publications, including San Francisco Chronicle, Sports Literate and The Satirist, said he was inspired to write this novel because of his lifelong love for sports–even if it took three decades to write it.

“I started writing it 30 years ago. I put it down because I was an (SHC) administrator. I never got back to it because I didn’t have the time,” Ken said. “Since I retired, I’ve had about 75 to 80 things published, a bunch of satires and sports stuff. I had this book to start with. I wanted to finish it–and I did.”

One of the challenges Ken faced during the process of writing Recruiting Blue Chip Prospects was capturing the details about the era. What was high school basketball like at the time? What was the dress like? What was popular in music? He opened the 1991 SHC Yearbook as part of his research. “I could see how kids actually dressed. It helped me to get details like that. That was kind of the fun part of doing the research–the music and all the different things and expressions that were happening then. There are a few cases where kids are telling jokes in the yearbook. I had to go into the book to get jokes that were told back then, like the ‘Yo Mama Jokes.’ It’s been fun writing it. It was fun, the whole editing process,” Ken said.

During his visit with AP Literature students, he spoke about the steps involved in completing his novel, including the writing and researching processes. He also held a question-and-answer session with the students and imparted sage advice on having a journalistic approach to writing. His most important advice to students is to get the “lard” out of their writing through revising and editing their stories.

Ken, who also donated a few copies of his novel to the library, said he hopes high-school-aged kids will enjoy the book and that people familiar with the era of the ‘90s will connect with the topics and themes covered in the novel.

Purchase Ken’s novel Recruiting Blue Chip Prospects.

Photos by Thai Chu

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