Cannon selected to College Hall of Fame - again Print
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Thursday, 01 May 2008 23:04
NCAAF Headline News

 NEW YORK (AP) -Billy Cannon was elected to the College Football Hall of Fame - ``Again,'' LSU's 1959 Heisman Trophy winner said with a laugh.
Cannon was among 15 newly elected Hall of Famers announced Thursday by the National Football Foundation, along with Lou Holtz, Troy Aikman, Pat Fitzgerald and Don McPherson.
In the early 1980s, Cannon was voted into the Hall of Fame, but the honor was rescinded after he was arrested on federal counterfeiting charges. Cannon pleaded guilty and was sentenced to five years in prison in 1983. He served 2 1/2 years.
He wasn't happy with the Hall of Fame at the time.
``There's an old Johnny Paycheck song, ``Take This Job and Shove It ... `` Cannon said, summing up his feelings at the time.
But he told the AP in a telephone interview from the Louisiana State Penitentiary in Angola, where he's worked as a dentist for 13 years, he'll gladly attend the induction banquet in New York in December.
``I have no problem with it,'' the 71-year-old former tailback said. ``I was tickled and happy'' to find about being selected.
The nine other players to be inducted are Virginia offensive tackle Jim Dombrowski; Florida linebacker Wilber Marshall; Washington State running back Ruben Mayes; Arizona State guard Randall McDaniel; Wyoming tight end Jay Novacek; Texas Tech split end Dave Parks; Florida State nose guard Ron Simmons; Oklahoma State running back Thurman Thomas; and Army quarterback Arnold Tucker.
John Cooper, who went 192-84-6 with Tulsa, Arizona State and Ohio State, was the other coach selected.
The class will be enshrined at the Hall of Fame in South Bend, Ind., in the summer of 2009.
Cannon said he was mostly happy to represent a great team that won a national title in 1958 under coach Paul Dietzel, but had yet to have a player inducted into the Hall of Fame.
``I have always felt that because of the team we had in that era, one of us should have been in the Hall of Fame,'' he said.
Cannon said former teammates linebacker Max Fugler, safety Johnny Robinson and punter-placekicker Tommy Davis would all be worthy Hall of Famers.
``We had an excellent football team, a great group,'' Cannon said. ``I've gotten a lot of accolades that should have gone to that team.
``The great thing is, when this old bunch gets together, they don't hold that against me.''
Cannon is responsible for one of the most famous plays in Southeastern Conference history. His 89-yard punt return for a touchdown on Halloween night 1959 helped the Tigers beat rival Mississippi 7-3 and wrapped up the Heisman for himself.
He thanked LSU associate athletic director Herb Vincent for leading the campaign to get him in the Hall and helping the memory of his team live on.
``It is a wonderful feeling to be in the Hall of Fame with this group of inductees, it's nice to be known with the former players, but even better will be the association with the inductees to come,'' he said.
Mary, North Carolina State, Arkansas, Minnesota and South Carolina. But his greatest achievements came at Notre Dame, where he won 100 games and the storied program's last national championship in 1988.
``When I first heard I was going to be inducted into the Hall of Fame, I just went 'Wow! Wow!' I'm going to join all the great coaches in there,'' Holtz said before reeling off some historic names. ``You start thinking about the great ones from Notre Dame, Parseghian, etc. And Broyles and Royal and Bear Bryant and Woody Hayes. You start thinking, 'How'd this happen?'''
Holtz was joined at a news conference in Manhattan by McPherson and Fitzgerald.
Fitzgerald was a two-time winner of the Bednarik Award as the national defensive player of the year and the leader of Northwestern's surprising '95 team, which earned the school its first Rose Bowl appearance in 47 years.
``This will be the highest honor I can ever have awarded to me,'' said Fitzgerald, who is entering his third season as Wildcats coach.
McPherson was the Heisman Trophy runner-up in 1987 to Notre Dame receiver Tim Brown.
``The game of football has given me more than I have given it,'' McPherson said.
 

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