Memphis Football retires Danton Barto’s jersey

MEMPHIS, Tennessee— One of the greatest players in University of Memphis Football history, Danton Bartos Jersey (No. 59) will be retired in a ceremony at Simmons Bank Liberty Stadium at a future game to be decided with the family.

A 2007 M-Club. Barto, who was inducted into the Hall of Fame, remains the school record holder for career solo tackles (273) and career total tackles (473), and ranks second with 200 career assisted tackles any times. Barto died in August 2021 at the age of 50.

Barto will join a prestigious group of former Tigers to retire their jersey: John Bramlett (No. 64), Isaac Bruce (83), David Casinelli (30), Karl Greenhill (8th), Harry shoe (79) and DeAngelo Williams (20).

Barto was named an All-South Independent First Team Honoree in 1991, 1992 and 1993, and was named All-South Independent Defensive Player of the Year in 1992 after leading Memphis with four interceptions. In 1993, Barto recorded 63 assisted tackles, which is still the fourth-best single-season mark in school history. His total of 144 tackles in the same season was enough to remain fifth in Tiger history.


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

Barto received first-team honors from the All-Independent Football Alliance (IFA) conference in both 1992 and 1993 and was the 1993 All-IFA Defensive Player of the Year Southern living All-South Team Honoree (1992, 1993), Barto was named both the Highland Hundred MVP and John Bramlett Defensive Player of the Year in 1991 and 1993.

After his Tigers career, Barto played professional football in the CFL and AFL for five years. A native of Niceville, Fla., he coached in the AFL2 for the Memphis Xplorers, a team he led to its first-ever championship and was named Coach of the Year.

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


First, to be considered a retired jersey, the student-athlete must have demonstrated good character and leadership qualities and outstanding athletic ability throughout their collegiate and post-college careers, earning positive honors for the University of Memphis. In addition, the student-athlete must have received at least one of the following awards: All-America recognition, multi-year All-Conference First Team recognition, and/or national individual awards as a collegiate or professional athlete. The student-athlete must be previously elected to the M Club Hall of Fame before being eligible for jersey retirement.


Nominations for jersey eliminations may be submitted by the varsity community, coaches, M Club members and/or members of the media. From there, the M Club Board of Directors discusses the nominee’s merits and votes to submit the nomination to a committee composed of the Senior Woman Administrator of the Athletic Department, the Sports Information Director, the University Faculty Athletic Officer, the M Club Board Chair and two M Clubs is composed of Representatives and the M Club Director.


This group of seven will consider the M Club Board’s recommendation and decide whether to submit the nomination to the Athletic Director for final approval.


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