The Greenwood Pittball football and cheerleading programs started in September of 1992 under the leadership of Danny Burton. Burton’s vision was to begin a youth tackle football program in Greenwood. Although he was discouraged because of the expense and insurance cost, he gathered support through a small group of men and women and began selling the program to local families. He also visited local businesses and individuals to solicit donations.
The first Midget team consisted of 15 players and was coached by Steven Leonard, Frank Nolan, Mike Stem and Greg Pair. The Pony team had 22 players and was coached by Rick Smith, Jerry Efurd, Donnie Sandifer, Gary Ezell and Dr. Jim Butler. That first year the Midgets finished 11-1-1 and the Pony team finished 7-3.
Amy Hurt started the first cheerleading squad that same year and it consisted mostly of young girls who had ties with the players. Each squad also had a mascot girl who attended kindergarten.
Danny Burton’s vision was spelled out in a clear philosophy:
1. To build a foundation for football in our community
2. To teach the fundamentals of tackle football
3. To teach a balance of sports and life
4. To teach a balance of physical, mental, emotional and spiritual stability
5. To give 100% to everything you do in life
6. To never give up on themselves or their teammates
7. To pull for each other and share each other’s victories and defeats
8. To bring in coaches and leaders in to the kids’ lives that will reflect these values
Danny was a 1969 graduate of Northside High School and served two years in Vietnam with the Marine Corp. He married the former Judy Paige and they raised four children: Josh, Jacob, Rachel and Rebekah. Danny and his brother David owned Burton Pool. Along with the Pittbull program, Danny Burton and his family supported local youth and sports teams by cooking thousands of meals and worked with sports programs at the South Sebastian County Youth Organization.
Danny was diagnosed with cancer and passed away in 2010 leaving each person who knew him with a lasting memory of how to dedicate your life to the service of others.
A pre-game ceremony is scheduled for 6:45 on September 6 in honor of Danny, his leadership and his commitment to Greenwood young people. A Pittbull reunion will be held at the GHS Student Union that evening from 5 to 6:30 p.m. All former and present players, coaches, cheerleaders and supporters are encouraged to attend and visit with Danny’s family members and reminisce about the Pittbull experiences.