MSU's Fisher didn't let size stop him on field
By By Don Foster / special to the Star
July 5, 2002
Not many quarterbacks under six feet tall ever make the final cut. Surprisingly, there's still quite a few well-documented cases.
Former Mississippi State safety-quarterback Sonny Fisher was one of these rare exceptions. A natural-born leader, the "little guy" was always in the thick of things during a brilliant career with the Bulldogs.
There's a number of little "big-time" quarterbacks who have made it to the highest level the NFL.
How many remember Eddie LaBaron, the diminutive field general of the Washington Redskins? Or how about Doug Flutie?
Another signal caller on the small side, Flutie has always managed to get the job done at the collegiate level and the NFL.
Mississippi State fans will never forget the era of one "little man" who had a tremendous impact in Starkville and around the SEC Sonny Fisher an idol of all the undersized players.
Retired U.S. Congressman G.V. "Sonny" Montgomery was one of Fisher's biggest fans. In fact, he had his own nickname for the little Bulldog sparkplug.
Montgomery affectionately referred to Fisher as "Mighty" throughout the storybook career of the diminutive two-way player under head coach Paul Davis.
That both Fisher and Montgomery hail from Meridian probably has little to do with Montgomery's admiration of the former Bulldog known for coming up with big plays, but it hasn't hurt.
During a visit to the Mississippi State University campus a little over a year ago by Montgomery and former President George Bush, the congressman introduced Fisher to the one-time chief executive as "Mighty".
A five foot ten inch, 160 pound two-way performer, Fisher led the Bulldogs to victory after victory. He was tough as nails and had a knack for coming up with game-turning plays.
Fisher helped lead the Maroon and White, along with a number of other Bulldog standouts like All-Americans Pat Watson (C), Tommy Neville (T) and running backs Ode Burrell, Hoyle Granger, and end Tommy Inman to a thrilling 16-12 triumph over North Carolina State on a frozen field at John F. Kennedy Stadium at Philadelphia Pa., in 1963. It was just one of many exciting victories that season.
During this past off-season Fisher was presented the Bill Wade "Unsung Hero" Award at the All-American Football Foundation Banquet of Champions XXXXVII at the Clarion Hotel Coliseum in Jackson.
An active supporter of Jackie Sherrill's Mississippi State Bulldogs, Fisher represented MSU's 1963 Liberty Bowl champions.
It marked the second time a Mississippi State football player was honored during the off season. All-American linebacker D.D. Lewis, one of MSU's all-time greats and an NFL All-Pro with the Dallas Cowboys, was inducted into the National Football Hall of Fame.
Other former Mississippi State players receiving awards at the All-American Football Foundation Banquet of Champions were Walter Suggs (T), Bill "Shag" Pyron (T), Wally Beech (RD-DB), Joe Fortunato (FB-LB), Art Davis (HB), Harper Davis, (HB) and the late Shorty McWilliams, an All-American running back.
Also a native of Meridian, Watson was a Mississippi State star who later became a college football coach. He was victim of a heart attack some two years ago at Georgia where he served as an assistant on the UGA staff.
An All-SEC selection himself, Fisher said he played for an outstanding group of coaches at Mississippi State included among them were Paul Davis, Johnny Majors, Ken Donohue, David "Dog" Owens, and Leonard McCullough.
In addition to playing quarterback, Fisher led the SEC in interceptions as a defensive back in 1963 and also led the Bulldogs in total offense, a feat that will likely never be topped.
For the past eight years, Fisher has served as the director of the Small Business Development Center at Mississippi State University. Previous to being reunited with the MSU family, he owned and operated the Ford, Lincoln Mercury auto dealership in Laurel, for 23 years.
For those who have followed Mississippi State on the gridiron through the years, quarterback "twig" Branch came from the same mold, an All-American in the hearts and minds of Bulldog fans everywhere.
Branch and Fisher took part in the Mississippi State University "M" Club Alumni Associating sponsored, 2002 MSU Football Reunion, June 14-15, in a salute to the former players and coaches from the 1949-1961 era.
These little guys, small only in stature, although they've added a few pounds following their days on the gridiron, guided the Mississippi State Bulldogs to some of their greatest wins ever.