Lane Fenner was last heard from in November 1986, on the 20th Anniversary of "The Catch," when Gerald Ensley of The Tallahassee Democrat tracked him down somewhere in the Southwest.
A reluctant Lane talked to Ensley, but made him promise to never tell where he lived. The story Ensley wrote is believed to be the last time Fenner spoke to the media about his moment in FSU history. (Garnet & Great had no luck in locating him 40 years after.)
Our thanks to The Democrat, and Gerald Ensley in particular, for greenlighting this slightly condensded version of that story.
COMPLETING THE LEGEND OF LANE FENNER
by Gerald Ensley
Democrat Staff Writer
Ron Sellers tells the perfect Lane Fenner story. The year was 1966, the same season Fenner became famous. The Florida State football team was amid the mountains in El Paso, Texas, preparing for the Sun Bowl.
After one practice, the team was loading up the buses. Coaches did a head count. One player was missing...
"It was Lane," recalled Sellers. "We searched for 20 or 30 minutes before we found him, halfway down the mountain, in a cave, looking for rocks."
Bingo, the quintessential Fenner story, perfect not just because Fenner was a geology major but because Fenner was a maverick.
Fenner was a player who once stood up in a team meeting and criticized head coach Bill Peterson. A player who refused to join the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, to which almost all his FSU teammates belonged. A player who chewed sunflower seeds while most other Seminoles chewed tobacco.
There's only one thing wrong with Sellers' story. It's not true.