Book lovers brave bad weather as Louisiana Book Festival goes on as scheduled in downtown Baton Rouge _lowres

LSU football legend Billy Cannon signs his book, "A Long, Long Run," for Patrick Tate and his son Ty, during the 2015 Louisiana Book Festival.

Advocate photo by Mark H. Hunter

The day after his 80th birthday, LSU football legend Billy Cannon found out Thursday that the school is planning to erect a statue in his honor.

“I guess they waited until I was old enough to appreciate it,” Cannon said with a chuckle Friday.

LSU’s Athletic Hall of Fame Committee approved the statue in a unanimous vote. The site of the statue and when it will be put in place are still to be announced.

“It’s a great honor, not only for me and my family but for the amazing guys I played with,” Cannon said. “They always gave the maximum effort. I hope as many of them who can will be there (for the ceremony).”

The 1959 Heisman Trophy winner said former teammates Warren Rabb and Jimmy Field made the push for the statue with the hall of fame committee. Field is the one who called Cannon with the news.

“It’s not something you expect,” Cannon said. “I asked them, ‘Why are you doing this to me?’ They said, ‘Because we deserve it.’ ”

Cannon had his No. 20 retired immediately after the 1959 season, the first former Tiger so honored. He was inducted to the LSU Athletic Hall of Fame in 1975 and the College Football Hall of Fame in 2008.

Cannon still works daily as the director of dentistry at the Louisiana State Penitentiary in Angola. He said he plans to finally retire Jan. 3.

"I'm leaving it in good hands," he said.

Follow Scott Rabalais on Twitter, @RabalaisAdv.​