All-Around athlete

Published 12:01 am Friday, August 8, 2014

0808 spt-Don Ganus

Former Andalusia halfback Don Ganus played for the Bulldogs in the early-to-mid 1950s. | Courtesy photo

Ganus to be inducted into AHS Hall tonight

Don Ganus found himself in a sticky situation when Andalusia was trying to beat Luverne in the early-to-mid 1950s.

With AHS trailing by single digits to the Tigers with 20 seconds left, Ganus — a passing halfback — got a good release under pressure and connected with teammate Johnny McDonald for a touchdown that ended up sealing the deal for the Bulldogs.

Ganus will be talking about that special memory and many more tonight as he will be inducted into the 2014 class of the AHS Football Hall of Fame.

“I just saw a sliver of red and white and got a good release,” Ganus recalled about the game-winning play. “The next thing I know, the crowd went wild and I didn’t know what happened.”

Ganus, who wore No. 32, was a three-year starter for the Bulldogs from 1952-1954. He received 13 varsity letters, including three apiece in football, basketball and track; and four in baseball. As it can be determined, only two other former Bulldogs — Kyle Gantt and Ashton Wells — earned 13 letters.

Ganus was a member of the Class “A” champion track team in 1955, where he was the individual state champion in the discus with a toss of 116.75 feet.

Rarely did he think that he’d be inducted into the high school’s HOF, Ganus said.

“I never really thought about it,” he said.”It’s something I rarely think about.”

Back during his playing time, Ganus said the equipment wasn’t like what it is today.

“You didn’t have the best equipment,” he said. “We didn’t know any different. We had leather helmets. You play to be with your buddies.”

In 1954, Ganus was named a First Team All-State Halfback by The Montgomery Advertiser and was named Third Team All-State Halfback by The Birmingham Post-Herald. He also was elected Andalusia’s permanent co-captain in 1954 and received the J.J. Motes trophy as the ‘54 season Most Valuable Player.

After the 1954 season, Ganus received numerous scholarship offers to play football, including one from the University of Alabama. However, he elected to sign with the Milwaukee Braves and played eight years in the Braves’ organization.

Additionally, Ganus won the Andalusia Country Club Golf Championship right handed in 1972, and the Greenville Country Club Golf Championship left handed in 1995.

The best thing Ganus said he learned as a football player is to “never quit,” no matter what.

“To anybody in athletes I always say never quit. Don’t give up,” he said. “That’s the easiest thing in the world to do. If you’re turkey hunter, for example, if he kills a turkey hen, he can’t tell anybody about it because it’s against the law. If he kills a 20-pound gobbler, he’s got something to brag about.”

Ganus lives with his wife, Barbara, in Blackshear, Ga. They have two daughters, Kim Rowland and Sandy Ganus Sport; and four grandchildren.