A player of the highest calibre, a coach who returned to mentor and shape the futures of Mark McGaw, Jonathan Docking, Andrew Ettingshausen and Barry Russell amongst others and later a Board member who helped the Sharks survive in stressful economic times during the mid to late 1980’s, the Cronulla Club lost one of its true pioneers with the passing of Kevin Hogan in the early hours of Monday morning.
Shark 51, his official Club number coming one spot below Tommy Bishop, Hogan captained the Sharks during the 1971 season in a career which spanned five seasons and 109 official games.
In a brilliant 1971 season Hogan would lead the Sharks side in the absence of Bishop, and would do so ahead of internationals Greg Pierce and Ron Turner, his play of such a standard that only Dennis Pittard of Souths would finish ahead of him on the Rothman’s Medal tally that year.
In emphasising his abilities Hogan also won the Sydney Morning Herald Medal that same ’71 season, an award similar to the current day Dally M Medal.
And in capping off a memorable year Hogan would skipper the Sharks to a 20-13 victory over the Bulldogs in the end of season Endeavour Cup knockout competition.
Debuting in First Grade for the Sharks in 1969, Hogan would play 12 games in 1970, then 21 matches in a standout season the following year. His career at the Sharks continued in 1972, while he was a member of the squad that reached the Grand Final in 1973, playing in the major semi final loss to Manly before sitting on the bench in the competition decider.
During his time in Cronulla colours Hogan would play alongside some of the Shark’s greats in Bishop, Pierce, Turner, Chris Wellman, Ken Maddison and Cliff Watson in what was a golden era for the Club.
Hogan played the 1974 season at the Parramatta Eels.
However as impressive as he was on the field, Hogan’s contribution to the Sharks may have been even greater off it.
A successful A Grade coach with local club Engadine Dragons, Hogan was enticed down to the Sharks in 1985 by Jack Gibson to be Third Grade/Under 23’s coach. Over a handful of seasons in that role Hogan would have an influence on a number of Cronulla’s up and coming stars.
Hogan brought McGaw with him from Engadine, while also helping to develop the likes of Russell, Ettingshausen, Docking, Michael Porter and his nephew Alan Wilson.
All of those mentioned and many more to be coached and mentored by Hogan went on enjoy extremely successful rugby league careers, with almost to a man all giving credit for the important role he played, not only with their footballing education but also in their development as young men.
Joining the Board of Directors in 1989, Hogan was also an influential figure in helping to steer the Sharks though some challenging times.
Kevin is survived by his wife Pat, sons Glen and Scott and his four grandchildren James, Harry, Lillian and Maxwell.
In further highlighting his family association to the Sharks, Hogan was a brother in law to former administrator Peter Armstrong, as well as to respected player from the early days in Graham Wilson, while his nephews Alan Wilson and Jimmy Hogan played for the club, as did son Glen.
“I weighed 81kgs when I ran out in first grade in 1986. The only reason I had a career is because I could tackle and Kevin Hogan was the man responsible for that,” Alan Wilson said.
“Kev was a special person to me, he was a mentor, a great mate and had a massive impact on our Club and many of the players that represented the Black, White and Blue. He was loved by all and will be missed by many,” Barry Russell added.
While Michael Porter was another deeply saddened by Hogan’s passing.
“Kevin was one of the best humans I’ve known. Peace and love to his family,” Porter said.
Due to the current COVID restrictions the funeral will be a private family event, with a celebration of Kevin’s life to be planned for an appropriate time and to be communicated to his many friends.