Danny Minor takes his rightful spot in the Macon Sports Hall of Fame along with eight other individuals when the 2014 class is inducted in ceremonies Thursday in the Monument Room of the Macon Coliseum.
If you followed Lanier football back in the mid-1950s, I know you are familiar with his name.
Playing on the final Poets football team coached by the legendary Selby Buck, Minor was the star running back on a squad that finished with an 8-3 record. Lanier lost to LaGrange that season in a region playoff game 26-0 after Minor suffered an injury in the first quarter, forcing him to sit out most of the contest.
When you look at his statistics, its easy to see why he was a first-team All-State and All-Southern selection, as well as an honorable mention All-American. Buck called Minor the best player he coached in his 30 years at Lanier.
As a senior, he set a region rushing record with 1,021 yards while scoring 16 touchdowns and converting two extra points for 98 points, leading the region in scoring. He caught 11 passes to account for 242 yards. Minor had a 94-yard touchdown run against Savannah, a 82-yard touchdown scamper against Smith, a school located in Atlanta, and a 66-yard punt return for a score against Baker, a school located in Columbus. His rushing mark stood as a school record for 13 years before being broken by Isaac Jackson, who had 1,670 yards in 1968.
During Minors career, he scored 25 touchdowns, second only to Billy Hendersons all-time record of 43.
Following his high school career, Minor had football scholarship offers from virtually every school in the South, including Georgia, Georgia Tech, Auburn and Tennessee. But he spurned all those institutions to accept Sen. Richard Russells appointment to the U.S. Military Academy. It also didnt hurt that Felix Doc Blanchard, the 1945 Heisman Trophy winner and assistant coach at Army, paid a recruiting visit to Macon to see Minor, which impressed Minors father.
Minor spent a season on the plebe, or freshman, team, where he scored nine touchdowns, including punt returns of 70 and 63 yards and runs from scrimmage of 40, 60 and 98 yards. He played two seasons on the varsity squad before missing his senior campaign due to a back injury. He was a member of the last undefeated Army team, the 1958 squad that went 8-0-1 and featured Heisman Trophy winner Pete Dawkins.
That season marked the last time that Army defeated Notre Dame. A 14-2 win over the Irish vaulted Army to a No. 1 national ranking. Army was No. 1 for two weeks before dropping to third after a tie at 14 with Pittsburgh. Minor was a defensive back for the Black Knights and also a backup running back to All-America pick Bob Anderson.
That 1958 team was the last to be coached by Hall-of-Famer Earl Red Blaik. Minor said it was a true honor to play for him.
After receiving his engineering degree in 1961, Minor spent four years on active duty with the Army, serving primarily in Europe. He then worked with several different firms in engineering, taking jobs in Delaware, Michigan, Virginia, Mississippi, North Carolina and Atlanta before becoming a stockbroker working in both Savannah and Athens, where he calls home today.
Minor said one of his biggest thrills at Army was getting to hear iconic Gen. Douglas McArthur address the football team before the start of practice each fall and getting the opportunity to meet him and shake his hand.
Joining Minor in this years Macon Sports Hall of Fame class are basketball standout Walter Daniels, who played at Southwest and UGA; Earl Bowden, one of the top amateur golfers in Macon history; longtime high school football official Rusty Wynn, who retired last fall after 40 seasons; contributor Bill Barnes, an orthopedic surgeon who has worked with local high schools for three decades; Lanier and Mercer basketball standout Bruce Gordy; current Jones County baseball coach Barry Veal, who was a star basketball and baseball player at FPD; Michael Jolly, who led Central to Macons last public school state football championship in 1975; and Wanda Burns Jackson, who starred in basketball at both Southwest and Florida State.
Bobby Pope is the executive director of the Georgia Sports Hall of Fame. Email him at email@example.com