Football legend billy cannon dies at 80 – lsusports.net – the official web site of lsu tigers athletics gas and supply

Cannon, a Baton Rouge native and 1959 LSU graduate, was the winner of the 1959 Heisman Trophy as a halfback, and he led the Tigers to the 1958 national championship. He was inducted into the LSU Athletic Hall of Fame in 1975 and into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2008.

"There may be no other figure in LSU sports who was more beloved and revered,” LSU Vice Chancellor and Director of Athletics Joe Alleva said. “His loss will be felt across the world today. The LSU family mourns with the Cannon family. He will always be a Tiger and will always be in our memories."

“To say that Billy Cannon was legendary is an understatement,” LSU President Dr. F. King Alexander said. “His talent catapulted LSU Athletics into the national limelight, but more than that, he had unwavering commitment to his alma mater. He will forever remain a part of the LSU legacy throughout the nation.”

A private ceremony for Dr. Cannon is planned for early this week. Details for a public remembrance later this week will be announced. The Cannon family asks that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to Johnny Robinson’s Boys Home and the Tiger Athletic Foundation Billy Cannon Endowed Scholarship.

“Today is profoundly sad for all of us. We know the thoughts and prayers of so many who were touched by my father’s life are with him and with us. There are no words to express how grateful we are for the outpouring of support from all over the country. It is overwhelming and comforting.”

“LSU meant more to our dad than anyone could ever know. It wasn’t the awards or the acknowledgements on the football field. It was always the love of the LSU family that meant the world to him and to all of us. There is simply no other place on earth where so many come together to love and support their own like LSU. His life was intertwined with the purple and gold, and he wouldn’t have had it any other way.”

One of the most versatile players to ever wear the Purple and Gold, Cannon’s No. 20 jersey was retired by the university in 1959. The LSU Athletic Hall of Fame Committee also unanimously approved a proposal that a statue honoring Cannon be erect on campus in August 2017.

Cannon was a rare athlete, even by today’s standards, combining sprinter speed with brute strength. He could consistently run a 9.5 in the 100-yard dash and, at 6-foot-1, 210 pounds, he had the size to overpower his opponents as well as outrun them.

He was an immediate standout as a sophomore in 1957, starring on both offense and defense for LSU. As a junior in 1958, he was the driving force behind the Tigers as they carved out a perfect season and claimed the national title that season. He passed for a touchdown and kicked the extra point in LSU’s 7-0 win over Clemson in the Sugar Bowl to earn MVP honors in that game.

Cannon’s most memorable performance came in his senior season of 1959 against Ole Miss. Top-ranked LSU trailed the third-ranked Rebels 3-0 early in the fourth quarter when Cannon fielded a punt at the LSU 11 and broke seven tackles on his way to a winning touchdown, as the Tigers won 7-3. The run helped cement the Heisman Trophy for Cannon in 1959. The radio call by then-announcer the late J. C. Politz along with the grainy black-and white film footage is regularly played on Halloween (Oct. 31), the date of the contest.

In his three-year career from 1957-59, Cannon rushed for 1,867 yards on 359 carries and scored 24 rushing touchdowns. He also caught 31 passes for 522 yards and two touchdowns. An all-purpose player who was also a defensive standout, Cannon returned 31 punts for 349 yards and 21 kickoffs for 616 yards in his career, punted 111 times for an average of 36.7 yards a punt and intercepted seven passes. He also completed 12 of 26 pass attempts for 121 yards.

Cannon played 11 years in professional football, the first 10 in the American Football League, helping lead the Houston Oilers to the AFL title in 1961 and 1962. He was a two-time MVP of the AFL Championship game. After a back injury in 1963, he was traded to the Oakland Raiders where he played tight end for seven years, earning All-Pro honors on Oakland’s first Super Bowl team.

An absolute legend. Billy Cannon was one of the greatest to ever put on a Tigers uniform. I always enjoyed my conversations with him and appreciated him taking the time to talk football with me. I’m beyond grateful to have met him. Rest In Peace #20. https://t.co/vBzElRy6fJ