Edgehill Gym Basketball

One of the highlights for many LDS and non-LDS boys who grew up in our neighborhood between 1945 and the 1980s was playing basketball at the Edgehill Ward gym. Under the direction and coaching of Paul Hansen,(1) who lived at 1628 South 1300 East, Edgehill Ward became a “basketball factory”(2) whose teams became the “[team] to beat” in All-Church Basketball Tournaments and were also renowned for their sportsmanship.(3) Participation in the program kept boys out of trouble, built character, and produced friendships that have lasted a lifetime.

In the interviews in this section, former players, many of whom earned the sobriquet “Edgehill gym rat”, share their memories of participating in the basketball program at the Edgehill Gym and Coach Hans (as Paul Hansen was affectionately known).(4)


(1) Paul J. Hansen, PhD. (1914-1990), became head of the Department of Education at the University of Utah (see obituary in Deseret News, May 23, 1990; http://www.deseretnews.com/article/103973/DEATH--PAUL-J-HANSEN.html).

(2) Tad Walch, “All-Church tourney provided great basketball: Teams played hard in remarkable era for sports in Utah,” Deseret News, October 4, 2008; http://www.deseretnews.com/article/700264056/All-Church-tourney-provided-great-basketball.html.

(3) Jessie L. Embry, “Spiritualized Recreation: Mormon All-Church Athletic Tournaments and Dance Festivals,” Charles Redd Center for Western Studies, Brigham Young University (Provo, Utah: 2008), 44, 60-61, and 76; https://reddcenter.byu.edu/Assets/SpiritualizedRecreationWhole.pdf.

(4) See quote of Deseret News editorial by Richard D. Paul in an untitled article by Barton Douglas Smith in Hillside Stake 50th Jubilee [1996]: 103-106.