74 Days to Miami Football: 1960’s star Dan Conners

Dan Conners was one of the last two-way stars for the Miami football program playing both offense and defense in the early 1960s. Conners began as a center on the offensive line eventually moving to offensive and defensive tackle.

Dan Conners was a two-star for the Miami football program in the early 1960s. Conners began his Hurricanes career as a center on the offensive line. With Miami two-deep at center during Conners’ first spring practice the Hurricanes’ coaches moved him to offensive tackle. Conners began to make an impact upfront.

Conners eventually received a chance to play defensive tackle. Leading an outstanding defense, Conners was part of a pair of Miami bowl teams. The Hurricanes lost the 1961 Liberty Bowl to Syracuse and the 1962 Gotham Bowl to Nebraska. In 1962 the Miami defense allowed 7.7 points per game, 9th out of 111 teams.

That was the pinnacle for the Miami defense during Conners’ tenure with the Hurricanes, but he continued to improve. As a senior in 1963, Conners set the Miami record for a defensive tackle with tackles in a season. Conners finished his Miami football career with 207 tackles.

Conners worked hard to bulk up during his Miami career. After entering Miami at 6’2 222 pounds and as a fullback coming out of high school, Conners added 18 pounds to get up to the more desirable weight of 240 pounds for a lineman during that era.

Conners was drafted by the Oakland Raiders in the 2nd round, 15th overall) of the 1964 AFL Draft and selected by the Chicago Bears in the 5th round 70th overall of the 1964 NFL Draft. Conners chose to sign with Oakland. Conners had 15 interceptions, returning three for TDs and 12 fumble recoveries in 11 seasons.

Conners was honored by being named to the AFL All-Time second team and was an AFL All-Star in 1967,1968 and 1969. Part of the Raiders 1969 13-1 AFC Champions, Conners played with Oakland in Superbowl II. Conners was inducted into the University of Miami Sports Hall of Fame in 1977 and the best player to wear 74.