Formerly known at Southern Utah University as No. 9, All-American quarterback Matt Cannon has returned to campus, this time on the administrative side, as the newest member of SUU’s Board of Trustees.
One of the most beloved and accomplished student-athletes in SUU history, Cannon brings with him a legacy of athleticism and scholarship. During his years at SUU which spanned from 1997 to 2001, Cannon had a sterling record, both on and off the field.
“Matt was arguably the most exciting football player ever to play for SUU,” said Neil Gardner, assistant athletics director for media relations. “In three years, he became one of the most prolific quarterbacks in Division I Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) history.”
Cannon was a four-year starter for the SUU Thunderbirds, playing quarterback, slotback and punter. By the end of his illustrious career at the University, he had set or matched 10 institutional records. Of those 10, seven still stand: rushing touchdowns in a season (23), points in a season (138), total yards in a career (8,930), rushing attempts in a career (757), net rushing yards in a career (5,498), rushing touchdowns (69) and career points scored (416).
Cannon also set four FCS (NCAA-IAA) records for career rushing touchdowns (69) career rushing yards by a quarterback (4,852), rushing yards by a quarterback in a single season (1,602) and career points scored (420).
A star in the classroom as well as on the field during his undergraduate years, Cannon gave the student commencement address in 2001, served as the chief justice in SUU’s Student Court and was actively involved in student government.“He was a model citizen on campus,” said Gardner. “He was the all-American boy.”
Now sworn in as an official member of SUU’s Board of Trustees, Cannon will help set the course for a new chapter in SUU’s history.
As the University prepares to seat a new president, the wisdom and leadership of its trustees is of pivotal importance. Cannon will be a valued asset in this process and the University will greatly benefit by his continued service.
“Matt is an excellent selection for our board,” said Gardner. “He has an expanded view that extends far beyond athletics. He sincerely wants the best for SUU.”
Cannon completed his bachelor’s degree in English and political science. Following graduation, he went on to play professional football in Germany and, eventually, returned to Utah to complete his juris doctorate at Brigham Young University. After joining the Utah Bar Association, Cannon served a judicial clerkship with the Honorable Paul G. Cassell at the United States District Court for the District of Utah.
In 2009, Cannon’s No. 9 jersey was retired in his honor. It now hangs in the Eccles Coliseum with just two others — Rick Traasdahl and Lenny Walterschied.
“Matt served in many roles as a student athlete and leader on our campus, preparing him to be an extraordinary trustee,” said Mindy Benson, executive director of alumni relations. “We’re thrilled to welcome him back and know he will again be a great contributor to SUU.”
Cannon currently practices law at the firm of Ray Quinney & Nebeker in Salt Lake City, Utah. He and his wife Jen, an SUU nursing alumna, are the parents of four children.