Feb. 15, 2011
By Bob Thomas
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Florida State fans should remember Danny McManus as the quarterback who was under center when the Seminoles began their 14-year run of 10-win seasons and top five poll finishes in 1987.
On Tuesday, McManus became the first former Florida State player selected for enshrinement in the Canadian Football Hall of Fame. The Dania, Fla. native enjoyed a 17-season career in the Canadian Football League, split between five franchises. At the time of his retirement following the 2006 season, he ranked second in CFL history with 53,255 passing yards and was the winning quarterback on three Grey Cup teams, having reached the league’s championship game six times. Along the way he amassed 259 career touchdown passes.
McManus will be joined by six other men in the 2011 class, which will be enshrined during a four-day celebration from September 14-18. The new inductees bring the total to 251 members, whose bronze busts are on display in the Canadian Football Hall of Fame’s Zone of Champions, located in Hamilton, Ontario.
Establishing himself as a fierce competitor with the Seminoles, McManus authored a 19-3 record as a starter between 1985 and 1987. He is also responsible for delivering one of Florida State’s biggest bowl victories. His 15-yard touchdown pass to Ronald Lewis – on fourth-and-goal with 3:51 remaining – delivered the Seminoles a 31-28 victory over Nebraska in the 1988 Fiesta Bowl. The scoring strike capped a 97-yard scoring drive on a record-setting day for the bowl’s MVP.
An 11th-round draft choice of the Kansas City Chiefs in 1988, McManus signed as a free agent with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers in 1990. He moved on the BC Lions in 1993 and in the 1994 Grey Cup, he replaced injured starter Kent Austin, leading his team to a championship win over the Baltimore Stallions. A year later he assumed the starting job and passed for 4,655 yards. It was the first of eight consecutive seasons with more than 4,000 passing yards for McManus – a CFL record. He spent the 1996 and 1997 seasons with the Edmonton Eskimos before joining the Hamilton Tiger-Cats for an eight-year run.
McManus’ most outstanding season came in 1999, when he guided the Tiger-Cats to the Grey Cup after leading the CFL with 5,334 passing yards and 28 touchdowns, establishing a host of team records along the way. In addition to being selected Most Outstanding Player Award in the Grey Cup game, he was also selected as the Eastern Division and CFL All-Star quarterback.
Hamilton’s career leader in passing yards, completions, attempts and touchdowns, McManus was traded to Calgary where he spent the 2006 season before announcing his retirement.
Today, McManus lives in Orlando and works as the Southeast Regional scout for the Tiger-Cats, where he can often be found attending Florida State games. It’s a familiar place for the former South Broward High School star, who in 27 games with the Seminoles passed for 3,390 yards and 25 touchdowns, while helping launch a dynasty. At the end of his FSU career, McManus’ 19 wins as the starting quarterback were the most in school history. Today it ranks eighth, while his .864 winning percentage in those starts remains a solid seventh.