Merton Hanks
No. 36
Personal information
Born: (1968-03-12) March 12, 1968 (age 54)
Dallas, Texas
Height:6 ft 2 in (1.88 m)
Weight:181 lb (82 kg)
Career information
High school:Lake Highlands (Dallas, Texas)
NFL Draft:1991 / Round: 5 / Pick: 122
Career history
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics
INT yards:410
Player stats at · PFR

Merton Edward Hanks (born March 12, 1968) is a former American football player who was a safety in the National Football League (NFL) for nine seasons during the 1990s.[1] He is currently a Senior Associate Commissioner for the Pac-12.[2]

College career

Hanks attended Lake Highlands High School, where he was a district track and field champion. He went on to the University of Iowa, earning all-Big Ten honors at cornerback. However, at the NFL scouting combine, his 40-yard dashes were extremely slow, and he was not drafted until the fifth round by the San Francisco 49ers.

Professional career

Despite his low selection, Hanks was selected for four Pro Bowl and three All-Pro teams. He was well known for his interceptions and returns, as well as his unique "chicken dance" celebrations which were later emulated by basketball star Shaquille O'Neal.[3][4] He was a member of the 1994 San Francisco team that won Super Bowl XXIX. Hanks finished his career with the Seattle Seahawks, retiring in 1999.

Executive career

Hanks was previously the assistant director of operations for the National Football League, and then the NFL Vice President of Operations in charge of player conduct.[5] He regularly goes on speaking tours.[6] Hanks began his tenure as Conference USA Senior Associate Commissioner in July 2016, where he is responsible for the conference’s football and baseball operations, including officiating, scheduling, game operations, player conduct and safety and more.[7] On September 8, 2020 Merton Hanks became the Senior Associate Commissioner, Football Operation for the PAC-12 conference.


  1. ^ "Merton Hanks". National Football League. Retrieved December 31, 2010.
  2. ^ "Pac-12 tabs ex-NFL star Hanks to run football ops". August 20, 2020. Retrieved September 14, 2021.
  3. ^ Gwen Knapp (December 21, 1997). "Dances with Hanks". Retrieved October 16, 2011.
  4. ^ "While the spotlight shines mostly on Kobe and Shaq, it's - 12.01.97 - SI Vault". October 29, 2013. Archived from the original on October 29, 2013. Retrieved September 14, 2021.
  5. ^ Smith, Michael David (October 19, 2013). "Merton Hanks: I fined Ndamukong Suh to get his attention". Pro Football Talk. NBC Sports. Retrieved December 1, 2013.
  6. ^ "Hawkeye Sports News: Where are they now? Merton Hanks". July 11, 2011. Archived from the original on July 11, 2011. Retrieved September 14, 2021.
  7. ^ "Conference USA - Staff Directory". Retrieved April 25, 2018.