Memphis Football to Retire Danton Barto’s Jersey

MEMPHIS, Tenn. – One of the best players in the history of University of Memphis Football, Danton Barto’s jersey (No. 59) will be retired in a ceremony at Simmons Bank Liberty Stadium at a future game determined with the family.

A 2007 M-Club. Hall of Fame inductee, Barto remains the school record holder for career solo tackles (273) and career total tackles (473) and ranks second all-time with 200 assisted career tackles. Barto passed away in August of 2021 at the age of 50.

Barto will join a prestigious group of former Tigers to have their jersey retired: John Bramlett (No. 64), Isaac Bruce (83), Dave Casinelli (30), Charles Greenhill (8), Harry Schuh (79) and DeAngelo Williams (20).

An All-South Independent first team honoree in 1991, 1992 and 1993, Barto was named the All-South Independent Defensive Player of the Year in 1992 after leading Memphis with four interceptions. In 1993, Barto recorded 63 assisted tackles, which still ranks as the fourth-best single season mark in school history. His 144 total tackles that same season was good enough to remain fifth in Tiger history.

Barto was named a Football News All-American from 1991-93, earning first-team honors in 1991 and fourth-team accolades in 1992 and 1993.

Barto earned All-Independent Football Alliance (IFA) Conference first-team honors in both 1992 and 1993 and was the All-IFA Defensive Player of the Year in 1993. A two-time Southern Living All-South Team honoree (1992, 1993), Barto was presented both the Highland Hundred MVP and John Bramlett Defensive Player of the Year awards in 1991 and 1993.

Following his Tiger career, Barto spent five years playing professional football in the CFL and AFL. The Niceville, Fla., native coached in the AFL2 for the Memphis Xplorers, a team he guided to its first-ever league championship, earning Coach of the Year honors.

He took over as the head coach of the AFL’s Las Vegas Gladiators for their 2007 season and served as an NFL scout for the St. Louis Rams.

To initially be considered to have a jersey retired, the student-athlete must have demonstrated quality character and leadership during his/her collegiate career and post-collegiate career, as well as outstanding athletic abilities that garnered positive accolades for the University of Memphis. Additionally, the student-athlete must have been awarded at least one of the following: All-America recognition, All-Conference First Team recognition in multiple years, and/or national individual awards as a collegiate or professional athlete. The student-athlete must have previously been voted into the M Club Hall of Fame before being considered for jersey retirement.

Nominations for jersey retirement may be submitted by the university community, coaches, M Club members, and/or media members. From there, the M Club Board discusses the candidate’s merits and votes to push the nomination forward to a committee made up of the athletic department’s Senior Woman Administrator, Sports Information Director, the University’s Faculty Athletic Representative, the M Club Board President, two M Club representatives and the M Club Director.

This group of seven weighs the recommendation of the M Club Board and decides whether to move the nomination to the Director of Athletics for his or her final approval.

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