Southern Cal Running Back Sam Cunningham Dies at 71
Former Southern California running back Sam Cunningham passed away at the age of 71 in Inglewood, CA. Cunningham played at Southern California from 1970-72 and was a part of the famed 1970 matchup between Southern Cal and Alabama.
Cunningham rushed for 135 yards and two touchdowns en route to a 42-21 victory over Bear Bryant's all-white football team. The next season, the Crimson Tide welcomed John Mitchell and Wilbur Jackson as the first black football players at Alabama.
"Sam Cunningham did more to integrate Alabama in 60 minutes than Martin Luther King did in 20 years," said coach Paul "Bear" Bryant.
Coach Bryant would compliment Cunningham, Jimmy Jones and Clarence Davis, USC's all-black backfield after the game and congratulate the trio on their strong game.
Cunningham helped the Trojans win a national championship as a senior in 1972. He was a first round draft pick in 1972 and played in the NFL until 1982.
He is survived by his wife, Cine, and daughter, Samahndi, a USC graduate, as well as brothers Randall, Bruce and Anthony.
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