By Austin Bishop
The Winston County Journal
Louisville native and former Ole Miss and San Francisco standout Doug Cunningham is one of seven athletes to be part of the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame’s class of 2014.
The announcement was made last week by HOF executive director Rick Cleveland, with induction set for July 25-26 at the BancorpSouth Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame in Jackson.
Cunningham, now 68 and living in Jackson, was a standout at Louisville High School where he graduated in 1963.
He played three varsity seasons at Ole Miss — during that era freshmen weren’t allowed to play on the varsity — rushing for a team high 713 yards his senior season as the Rebels finished 8-3. He also had caught 23 passes for 146 yards.
During that 1966 season he lead the SEC in yards per carry and was second in touchdowns and third in yards from scrimmage.
He was taken in the sixth round by the San Francisco 49ers in the 1967 NFL draft, where he played for seven seasons. He also played one year with the Washington Redskins.
Cunningham’s most productive season in the NFL came in 1969 when he tied for 10th in the NFL in pass receptions with 51 for 484 yards. He also rushed for 541 yards for 147 carries and started in 13 of San Francisco’s 14 games that season.
He was 14th in the NFL in total rushing yards in 1969, a year in which the only player to rush for more than 1,000 yards was the legendary Gale Sayers, who led the league with 1,032.
In 1970 he ran for 443 yards on 128 carries and caught 35 passes for 209 yards.
For his career Cunningham rushed for 1,515 yards and 10 touchdowns on 406 carries and scored 10 touchdowns. He also caught 137 passes for 1,171 yards.