Billy Cannon: A Long, Long Run

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9780807162200: Billy Cannon: A Long, Long Run
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Billy Cannon's name, his image, and his remarkable athletic career serve as emblems for Louisiana State University, the Southeastern Conference, and college football. LSU's only Heisman Trophy winner, Cannon led the Tigers to a national championship in 1958, igniting a love of the game in Louisiana and establishing a tradition of greatness at LSU.
But like many stories of lionized athletes who rise to the status of legend, there was a fall -- and in the case of Billy Cannon, also redemption. For the first time, Charles N. deGravelles reveals in full the thrilling highs and unexpected lows of Cannon's life, in Billy Cannon: A Long, Long Run.
Through conversations with Cannon, deGravelles follows the athlete-turned-reformer from his boyhood in a working-class Baton Rouge neighborhood to his sudden rush of fame as the leading high school running back in the country. Personal and previously unpublished stories about Cannon's glory days at LSU and his stellar but controversial career in the pros, as well as details of his indictment for counterfeiting and his post-release work as staff dentist at Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola, unfold in a riveting biography characterized by uncanny success, deep internal struggles, and a champion's spirit that pushed through it all.

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About the Author:

Charles N. deGravelles spent over twenty-five years ministering to the inmates of Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola, including the men on death row. A deacon and teacher living in Baton Rouge, deGravelles has published in literary journals and anthologies nationwide.

Review:

For more than half a century since the glory days of Billy Cannon, LSU football fans have gotten only pieces of his story. This book provides a detailed account of a celebrated athlete. It also offers something much bigger the journey of a proud but wounded man who took a remarkable path and eventually ended up exactly where he wanted to be. --Jeffrey Marx, Pulitzer Prize winning journalist and author of Walking with Tigers: A Collection of LSU Sports Stories

Charles deGravelles s portrait of Billy Cannon is a big, bruising, unforgettable look at one of the most fascinating characters in the history of American sports. What I admire most about the book is how the author got his subject to speak honestly about his past not only the heroic moments that have become legend, but also the confounding ones that made us question his character. In the end, deGravelles reveals Cannon to be a decent man in search of the same redemption we all should want. You'll be blown away. --John Ed Bradley, author of It Never Rains in Tiger Stadium

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