In his own words: Billy Cannon’s life as LSU’s Heisman hero

3 months ago WBRZ 0

BATON ROUGE, LA – For people to still remember that run and that team and that group of kids 50 years later is outstanding.

“Under Coach Dietzel, we had a rule for everything and one of the rules was that you don’t catch a punt inside the 20 yard line”

The night Billy Cannon broke that rule, he became the most iconic player in LSU football history.

The 1959 Heisman trophy winner winning that game against the Rebels on Halloween night, telling that story ever since.

“The last person was the punter, their All-American quarterback Jake Gibbs. I tell this story when we’re together over the years, that’s the only tackle he ever missed in his lifetime but it’s the only tackle he ever attempted. They never got to him before or after.”

And while Billy was able to escape the Ole Miss defense that night and forever cement himself in the LSU history books, Cannon was not able to illude the FBI long after his playing days in 1983.

By that time, Cannon was a successful orthodontist with a thriving practice, a stable of racehorses and more real estate holdings than he could afford, which is why Billy Cannon says he started counterfeiting money.

“I was wrong. What do you do when you’re wrong? You hope the house doesn’t collapse, but it’s collapsing. You do the best you can to go do your time and go rebuild your life.”
Billy’s later years were spent in prison, but most of them by his own choice.

After his sentence, the once successful Baton Rouge orthodontist, just like in his playing days at LSU, took things into his own hands. Cannon revitalizing the health care system at Angola, which was once sued on the grounds that it was so bad it was unconstitutional.

The Tigers’ No. 20 making sure his legacy lived on both on and off the field.

“It’s all about the team, and if the team is successful, then you’ll have your day in the sun.”