Friday, September 12, 2008

Remembering Dave "Hawg" Hanner

It was with sadness that we learned today that one of the all-time great players, coaches and scouts in Packers' history passed away yesterday. Not to mention, of course, that he was also the holder of one of the best nicknames in football. Dave "Hawg" Hanner, a resident of Land O' Lakes, FL, suffered a massive heart attack on Tuesday before succumbing yesterday. He was 78.

Hanner's career with the Packers spanned 44 years. As an article about him in today's Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel states, "Hanner's career had no equals in Green Bay for his years of service."

Indeed. Hanner played defensive tackle for the Pack from 1952-64. He was named to the Pro Bowl twice. He and the late Henry Jordan were named defensive tackles on the Packer's all-time "modern era team." Hanner was part of the fourth induction class to the Packers Hall of Fame in 1974. Following his playing career, he joined Lombardi's coaching staff. Dan ("Don't shoot my dog!") Devine named Hanner defensive coordinator in 1972 -- the first in club history. He remained coordinator for the next eight years before being fired by then coach Bart Starr after the 1979 season, an event which hurt Hanner deeply. Hanner returned as a scout in 1981, spent the next year in quality control, and finally became a Packers scout for good in 1983. He retired in 1996.

Hanner was a humble man, despite his accomplishments. In an interview just prior to his retirement, he told the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, "I guess I hope people remember me as a damn good player and coach because I worked and gave everything I knew to it. Not the greatest or anything like that, but to the best of my ability. That's all you can ask."

You bet, Dave. You bet. Thanks for being a Packer through and through.

Funeral arrangements are being handled by Roller-Citizens Funeral Home in West Memphis, Ark.

You can read more about Dave "Hawg" Hanner here.