Hall of Fame Retrospective: Most Reverend John J. Paul (’39)
A natural athlete and leader, Most Reverend John J. Paul (‘ 39) made his mark in athletic competition before answering his calling.
A three-sport athlete, Paul showed his prowess on the basketball court, football field and baseball diamond while at Loras. Despite the Duhawks’ 12-20-1 record on the gridiron during his years at Loras, Paul collected Iowa Conference honors as a sophomore. He would also serve as co-captain on the hardwood as Loras tallied a 49-28 record in four seasons.
Following his graduation from Loras, Paul was ordained as a priest on January 24, 1943, in his hometown of La Crosse, Wisconsin. While in Eau Claire, he helped establish Regis High School before being assigned at Holy Cross Seminary then at the Cathedral of St. Joseph the Workman, both in La Crosse.
In 1977, Fr. Paul was appointed bishop for the Diocese of La Crosse on May 17, 1977, and was consecrated on August 4, 1977. Upon the retirement of Bishop Frederick W. Freking, Bishop Paul was appointed Bishop of the Diocese of La Crosse on October 17, 1983, a post he would hold until his retirement in 1994.
Paul was inducted into the Loras Athletics Hall of Fame in 1983 as a member of the inaugural class.