LSC-O Welcomes Former NFL Star, Football Analyst Merril Hoge Sept. 25

Merril Hoge

Lamar State College-Orange will be holding its annual Distinguished Lecture Series a little earlier than usual this year, at the Lutcher Theater on Sept. 25 at 6:30 p.m. This year’s very distinguished lecturer is former NFL star, ESPN analyst and cancer survivor, Merril Hoge.  He will be presenting a lecture entitled “Find a Way,” named after his book of the same title published in 2010.

Born and raised in Pocatello, Idaho, Hoge is a graduate of Idaho State University with a degree in education and a minor in health and fitness. He was a four-year football star who finished his college career with 44 school and conference records and two NCAA records.

As seen on popular ESPN programs such as “NFL Live,” “NFL Countdown,” “Prime Time,” and “Sportscenter,” Hoge has been a football analyst since 1996. Prior to transitioning to television, he was a star football player for the NFL. Drafted by the Pittsburgh Steelers in 1987, he became a starter in his second year in the NFL and is one of only two running backs to rush for over 100 yards in back-to-back playoff games (the other being Franco Harris). He became a free agent and moved to the Chicago Bears in 1993 before his career ended prematurely due to a series of concussions.

At the time of his retirement, Hoge had played in 122 consecutive football games, the longest playing streak in the NFL at that time. Currently on ESPN, he appears on “NFL Match Up,” which is the only show that uses and studies coaches’ tape to provide an inside look at the game. Hoge has distinguished himself through his in-depth knowledge of both offense and defense and his strong relationships with the coaches and players in the National Football League.

In 2010, Hoge published his first book, entitled “Find a Way.” The book has been his philosophy since he was 12 years old. This philosophy has helped him to attain his goals, such as playing in the NFL, as well as overcoming challenges and setbacks. These “setbacks” have included the death of his mother when he was young, to having to end his football career due to head trauma, and being diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma in 2003.

Hoge has long been a sought-after speaker in sharing this story with the corporate world and civic groups in helping them to find a way to achieve their goals and overcome their setbacks and challenges.  Since his playing days, he has been on the Board of the Highmark Caring Foundation, and is currently Chairman of the Board.

The Caring Foundation has created four centers for grieving children, adolescents and their families, called the Highmark Caring Place with locations in both Pittsburgh and throughout Pennsylavia. The centers are of particular meaning to Hoge, having lost his own mother when he was 21 years old and seeing the effect it had on his then 16-year-old brother.

Hoge will be signing copies of his book “Find a Way,” which will be sold at the Lutcher Theater, immediately following the lecture. The Distinguished Lecture Series is a free event and is open to the public. For more information, visit www.lsco.edu or call (409) 882-3097.