1959 Heisman Memorial Trophy Winner
Dr. Billy Cannon is among the most heralded and identifiable college football players in NCAA history and is largely responsible for the emergence of big-time football at LSU.
Cannon, who was born in Mississippi and raised in Baton Rouge, was the winner of the 1959 Heisman Memorial Trophy as a halfback, and he led the Tigers to the 1958 national championship. His No. 20 jersey was retired by LSU in 1959. He was inducted into the LSU Athletic Hall of Fame in 1975 and the College Football Hall of Fame in 2008. He was named the 2010 LSU Alumnus of the Year by the LSU Alumni Association.
Cannon, a two-time football All-American and SEC Player of the Year, was a rare athlete, combining tremendous speed and strength. An SEC champion sprinter for LSU's track and field team, he ran a 9.5 in the 100-yard dash and also competed in the shot put, recording a mark of 57-4. At 6-foot-1, 210 pounds, he had the size to overpower his opponents.
He was an immediate standout on the gridiron as a sophomore in 1957, and as a junior in 1958, he was the driving force behind the Tigers' perfect 10-0 national championship
Cannon's most memorable performance came on Halloween Night 1959 in Tiger Stadium. Top-ranked LSU trailed third-ranked Ole Miss, 3-o, early in the fourth quarter when he fielded a punt at the LSU 11 and broke seven tackles on his way to a touchdown, as the Tigers won 7-3. The 89-yard return helped cement the Heisman Trophy for Cannon and is regarded as the most storied play in LSU football history.
In his three-year LSU career from 1957-59, he rushed for 1,867 yards on 359 carries and scored 24 touchdowns, and he caught 32 passes for 522 yards and two touchdowns. He returned 31 punts for 349 yards and 21 kickoffs for 616 yards, punted 111 times and intercepted seven passes.
Cannon played 11 years in professional football, the first 10 in the American Football League, helping lead the Houston Oilers to AFL titles in 1961 and 1962, and the Oakland Raiders to a berth in Super Bowl II.
He earned his D.D.S. at the University of Tennessee and a master's degree at Loyola University in Chicago. He worked for more than 20 years as the Director of Dentistry at the Louisiana State Penitentiary in Angola, where the patients he treated called him "Legend".
Cannon and his wife, Dorothy Dupuy Cannon, raised five children, Terri, Gina, Dara, Billy Jr.
Cannon always attributed his success at LSU to his teammates, saying,"It's all about the team, and if the team is successful, then you'll have your day in the sun."
2008 Class of the National College Football Hall of Fame
No. 1 Pick in the 1960 AFL Draft (Houston Oilers)
No.1 Pick in the 1960 NFL Draft (Los Angeles Rams)
1976 Inducted Into the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame
1975 Inducted Into the LSU Athletic Hall of Fame
1959 No. 20 Jersey Retired by LSU Football
1959 Heisman Trophy Winner (Downtown Athletic Club of New York)
1959 AP Player of the Year & UPI Player of the Year
1959 The Sporting News Player of the Year
1959 All-American (consensus)
1959 Outstanding College Player (Columbus, Ohio Touchdown Club)
1959 Walter Camp Memorial Trophy (Washington, D.C. TD Club)
1959 College Back of the Year (Los Angeles Times)
1959 AP Back of the Year & UPI Back of the Year
1959 SEC Player of the Year (Nashville Banner)
1959 SEC Player of the Year (Atlanta Touchdown Club)
1958 UPI Player of the Year
1958 The Sporting News Player of the Year
1958 Outstanding College Player (Columbus, Ohio Touchdown Club)
1958 AP Back of the Year & UPI Back of the Year
1958 All-American (consensus)
1958 SEC Player of the Year (Nashville Banner)
1958 SEC Back of
1958 SEC Back of the Year (Birmingham Touchdown Club)
1958 All-SEC (AP and UPI)
1958 Louisiana VFW Award (Louisiana Outstanding Athlete)
1957 Second-Team All-SEC (UPI)
1957 All-SEC Sophomore Team
Erected 2018 by Louisiana State University.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in this topic list: Sports.
Location. 30° 24.684′ N, 91° 11.148′ W. Marker is in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, in East Baton Rouge Parish. Marker is on West Stadium Road north of South Stadium Drive, on the left when traveling north. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Baton Rouge LA 70803, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. 2011 SEC Champions (here, next to this marker); 2003 SEC Champions (a few steps from this marker); 2019 SEC Champions (a few steps from this marker); 2007 SEC Champions (a few steps from this marker); 1988 SEC Champions (a few steps from this marker); 2001 SEC Champions (a few steps from this marker); 1970 SEC Champions (within shouting distance of this marker); 1986 SEC Champions (within shouting distance of this marker). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Baton Rouge.
More about this marker. Located in front of LSU Tiger Stadium on the LSU Campus.
Credits. This page was last revised on November 11, 2018. It was originally submitted on November 11, 2018, by Cajun Scrambler of Assumption, Louisiana. This page has been viewed 139 times since then and 32 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. submitted on November 11, 2018.