Word circulates on social media that NC football great Danny Talbott has died

Danny Talbott, perhaps the best high school football player in Rocky Mount history, died early Sunday morning according to multiple social media accounts. Talbott, 75, has been suffering from cancer for several years. In 2018, Nash General Hospital dedicated a cancer center in his name. Talbott had been treated for multiple myeloma, a cancer of a type of white blood cell called a plasma cell. He had a stem cell transplant in 2011 at the UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center that showed great promise. Talbott led the Rocky Mount Blackbirds to state titles in baseball, basketball and football during his […]

Danny Talbott, perhaps the best high school football player in Rocky Mount history, died early Sunday morning according to multiple social media accounts.

Talbott, 75, has been suffering from cancer for several years. In 2018, Nash General Hospital dedicated a cancer center in his name.

Talbott had been treated for multiple myeloma, a cancer of a type of white blood cell called a plasma cell. He had a stem cell transplant in 2011 at the UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center that showed great promise.

Danny Talbott

Danny Talbott.

Talbott led the Rocky Mount Blackbirds to state titles in baseball, basketball and football during his senior year in 1963. He followed that success up in college at the University of North Carolina where he was named the ACC Player of the Year in football in 1966 and led the baseball team to the College World Series the same year.

He was drafted 17th overall by the San Francisco 49ers the following year before being picked up by the Washington Redskins where he backed up Sonny Jurgensen during Vince Lombardi’s only year coaching the team.

While professional football ultimately didn’t work out for him, he also played in the Baltimore Orioles organization under coach Cal Ripken Sr.

In 2003, he was inducted into the North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame. His No. 10 jersey hangs in honor at Kenan Stadium in Chapel Hill.

He continued as an athlete, winning several senior tennis tournaments where he played both left and right handed.

Rocky Mount native Steve Moore, who lives in Holly Springs now, said that everyone has a positive story about Danny Talbott. “He was a class act and a great guy,” Moore wrote on Facebook. “Men and women like Danny come along once in a lifetime.”

Moore coached Danny’s son in Little League baseball and Talbott never interfered “although he knew more about the game than all of us put together.”

Rocky Mount football games in the days of Talbott were big events that drew large enthusiastic crowds.

In an interview five years ago, Talbott said, “If I die, then I go to heaven. If I beat this, then I get to stick around and give my friends a hard time. It’s a win-win.”

One of those friends was UNC baseball coach Mike Fox, who, despite coaching at Rocky Mount’s Wesleyan College, didn’t really know Talbott until he came back to Carolina to coach the Tar Heels baseball team. Despite struggling with cancer, Fox said that Talbott was there for him during his ups and downs.

“He’s one of the best athletes – if not the best – that has ever come through this university,” Coach Fox once said. “He’s a big-time Tar Heel, and he’s a really big supporter of the program and of me personally, which I appreciate. But more important, I’ve gotten to know him on a personal level, and he’s a wonderful person.”

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