Update ~ Aug. 28 ~ 10:07 AM
There is A growing movement in the push to get East Prairie 1977 graduate Danny Lee Johnson into the Murray State Racer Sports Hall of Fame.
There are none more deserving ~ but ~ as is the Case with many things in Life ~ it takes effort; passion and perseverance to succeed.
Danny Lee needs the Help of East Prairie Eagles Fans everywhere.
Here is how you can help. It’s quite simple. Eagle fans need to flood the Racer offices with pleas to have Danny Lee included. His case to be included is Rock Solid. His character; human qualities and grace more than amplify his football career on the Field.
This is All You Have to do to Help.
Click on this Link ~ And Follow the Process. It’s simple. It’s quick and easy And ~ most importantly ~ it’s the Right Thing To Do.
An Ep icon ~ #26 Danny Lee Johnson
Forgotten in some ways by many. But, not by the few who still care and know of his Dream to make it to the Hall of Fame at Murray State University.
He has spoken with me for years; I’ve tried to assist in any small way I could have – or can – and am still willing to help Danny Lee; perhaps the most talented Running Back to come through the Halls of East Prairie High School.
And, he was much more than that to many people. Still is. He makes the sojourn from his Home in Evansville, IN., to take in an Eagle football game; talk to the team often.
After all, he did romp for more than 2600 yards and 27 TDs his senior; his accomplishments; his Jersey – all – in the Ep Hall of Fame. Now, it’s time for the Racers to stand up and do the right thing.
Danny Lee Johnson
Here’s a tale that will raise a feather.
So, ‘we’ the community are on a mission now to ensure Danny Lee’s election into the Murray State University Hall of Fame. A number of folks were asked to write a character reference Letter. They have. One of those who did shared her story with me.
Ms. Sandra Carter, retired East Prairie businesswoman kinda Icon figure, told me, “You know, (Danny Lee) is just a good guy. Ever since my husband Ronald (Former EP Board President and Business Owner) passed away; Danny calls me every 2-3 weeks just to check on me. He calls on every Holiday. He’s just a nice person.”
Those who know Ms. Carter understand those clear words and most echo her sentiments about Danny Lee ~ all do really ~ except his opponents on the football Field.
Danny Lee’s exploits in High School are ridiculous. So much so that even with future Tampa Bay Buccaneer; Mizzou and Sikeston standout James Wilder graduating the same year, Johnson was the better running back and football player in Southeast Missouri in 1976.
I didn’t know Wilder personally but I did Danny Lee and he was/is a better person than a football player.
Ms. Carter told me: “He told me that when he got ready to go to college he didn’t have a way. Ms. Lawanda Douglas drove him to Murray; gave him a little money and dropped him off. Danny Lee told me he chased after her car when she left.”
Johnson, a native of Illinois, moved with his family to Pinhook during the 1970’s. Racial strife was rife during that era of #Merica. Even on the Prairie. But, not in a hostile way as the reorganization and integration of Mississippi County schools went about as well as could be hoped. Yes, there were troubling times in Charleston – as was the case across the country – but in East Prairie the transition in the smaller school was a lot simpler to achieve.
And, Danny Lee’s athletic prowess, along with that of his Pinhook neighbors, gave birth to a rise in East Prairie football that people still dream about today. It’s been matched only once, during the 1995 Eagles semifinal run; and, now in 2015, the excitements for Friday Night Light’s in this little town is near fever pitch. And, it’s just August. Preseason game Jamboree set for Friday, Aug. 14 at EPHS.
Back to the point ~ Danny Lee deserves inclusion into the MSU Hall of Fame, not only for his athletic endeavors at Roy Stewart Stadium and at Ep; but, more importantly, for the Human Being that he is and developed into over the course of his Life.
25 years married, not only to the Love of his Life ~ Adria (who Danny met while playing at MSU; her brother was a Racer teammate) but also more than two and a half decades on the Fire Department in Evansville, IN; he’s also worked part time jobs to help put two sons , Chris and Courtney, through college. Both boys graduated from the University of Southern Indiana. His wife from Ivy University Tech.
Well done, Danny Lee.
In Jr. High, we all hated practice. It was brutal. Worse than any game you could imagine especially being the scrub I was getting to tackle ~ attempt ~ Danny Lee as he tore through the hole on a mad mission. He ran hard. He was big. Like 6-2, 240. As a Jr. High running back.
Well, maybe a tad of hyperbole, but he grew into that and more as he ran roughshod over the SEMO Conference for 4-years as an Eagle capping it with the school’s first ever playoff appearance ~ in anything ~ in 1975 as a junior; his senior season of 27 TDs; 2600 yards could have been more if legendary curmudgeon coach Ed Nichols had of wished.
Second All-Time Leading Rusher in Murray State Racer University History.
His 2,522 yards over the course of his career rank second behind Malden’s Don Clayton (New England Patriots) who has the record of 2,804 yards.
But, look at the MSU record books and Danny Lee is all over it. He romped as a Racer like he soared during his time as an Eagle. He never stopped running until his body gave out as a result of the heavy workload he accumulated ever since he began toting the rock from Pinhook in Jr. High.
He is tied for for the record of Most TDs in a game with 4 ~ held by 9 other Racers. Danny Lee notched his 4Td game Oct. 21 at Eastern Tennessee in 1978, his sophomore year.
And, that year ’78, the year of all years in his career. 12 TDs that season puts him at #4 in the record books on TDs in a season at Murray; he is 10th in Racer career TDs with 17; second in all time 100-yard games, with 8 of them during the 1978 season.
And, to back up the point of when his leg; back and body finally wore down; Danny Lee is second in career rushing attempts behind Clayton with 554-557 – 3 carries away from the most in a Racer uniform. And, he’s not in the Racer Hall of Fame.
Surely, there is an oversight committee in Kentucky that can readily address this miscarriage of sporting justice?
Danny Lee will wait patiently again this year. Wait for the phone to ring with those words he so wishes to hear.
“You made it.”
This is the 2016 Hall of Fame Class that was released in June of this year. I rest my case.
Danny Lee’s next hope is for 2017.
Well, ask any Eagle fan and he already is in the Hall of Fame in his Home town in a big way. Let’s Hope and Pray Murray State Racer fans will now feel the same way, too.
Now, you tell me, why…a man who wants to be included in the Hall of Fame; is actively reaching out to the Hall and has a plethora of supporters and fans helping his case – can not be inducted?
You think he’s got a shot to be included this time next year?
I do. Just a gut. I have tried in my own small way for many years to help; written stories in the East Prairie Eagle; hosted him on a Sports Talk show I did on Froggy 103 in Murray; but, never had the mojo to get it done.
Perhaps, with as many people as are on board this time and with the rushing crush of Social Media and pressure on Twitter, the Racers will do the right thing.
I will let you know when this occurs.
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED: KpKronicleLLC ~ Kevin Pritchett