On Tuesday afternoon, the University of Southern California announced a former beloved member of the football team passed away.
Former USC fullback Sam “Bam” Cunningham passed away this week, according to a statement from the university. He was 71 years old.
“Former USC All-American fullback Sam “Bam” Cunningham, a College Football Hall of Famer whose performance in USC’s 1970 win at Alabama has often been credited with helping integrate Southern football and whose 4-touchdown outing in the 1973 Rose Bowl earned him Player of the Game honors before going on to a record-setting career with the New England Patriots, died on Tuesday (Sept. 7) in Inglewood, Calif,” the statement read. “Cause of death is pending. He was 71.”
Here’s the post from USC’s athletics department.
#FightOnForever, Sam “Bam” Cunningham.
The All-American fullback, Rose Bowl MVP and College Football Hall of Famer, whose performance in USC’s 1970 win at Alabama has often been credited with helping integrate Southern football, died on Tuesday in Inglewood. He was 71.
— USC Trojans (@USC_Athletics) September 7, 2021
Cunningham was a three-year lettermen at USC. During the 1972 season, he earned All-American honors after leading the Trojans to a national title. He rushed for 1,579 yards and 23 touchdowns in his career (including 13 TDs in 1972) and added 34 receptions for 293 yards and 2 scores.
Following his incredible collegiate career, the New England Patriots selected Cunningham with the No. 11 overall pick in the 1973 NFL draft. He put together a solid NFL career and made the Pro Bowl in 1978.
Cunningham finished his career with 5,453 rushing yards, 210 receptions for 1,905 yards, and 49 touchdowns. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2010.
Our thoughts are with the Cunningham family and USC community.
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